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Youth buying into Athenian Culture

A decade ago parents of youth basketball players at Crawfordsville weren’t convinced. Some games at the Boys and Girls Club here, some elementary school games there, and maybe some AAU games sprinkled in. And then David Pierce came along. The leader of the Crawfordsville boys basketball program is in his ninth season at the helm, and his recent success is not by accident. From the start, he has put time and effort into building the program up from scratch. “I think it’s remarkable what he does and how he’s developed a program from top to bottom,” Ken Minnette, who coaches at the youth level, said. “It all starts with him.” Each fall, Pierce puts on a preseason camp for all of Crawfordsville’s youth players to get them prepared for the Montgomery County youth league that he helped start and has helped develop in the last decade. “It’s just seamless, you roll right out of camp and just build on what he put in at the camp from the things he’s teaching on defense, offensive drills and some of the skills training,” Minnette said. Brett Motz, the current athletic director at Crawfordsville Middle School has seen firsthand the impact Pierce has had on the development of the youth program. “It’s been a very fluid process in the 10 years that I’ve worked with David here,” Motz said. “He’s always welcomed the middle school staff to go in and listen and communicate. And there’s no question that his success here recently has been a result of No. 1 building relationships, not only the kids, but the parents who have stepped up and put a lot of time and energy into the kids as well.” Each and every Saturday during the youth league, Pierce is one of the first to arrive at the gym, and one of the last to leave. “He knows the names of the current second graders that participated in his camps and participated in the winter youth Montgomery County league,” Motz said. “There is no question that kids want to play for David Pierce. He treats them all like they’re his own kids.” Pierce knows how important things like that are. “That’s something I stole from Dad watching him coach all those years, he knew every kid,” Pierce said. “And if you have aspirations to build a program, you have to know what’s coming and what you’ve got to work on and it’s important to know those kids’ names when you run into them at Kroger or wherever. They trust you, ‘if you care enough to remember my name, you care enough to put me in the right direction or correct something that I need to correct.’” Minnette and others see it as well. “Coach Pierce is clearly trying to develop way more than just the basketball skills of these players. He’s trying to create the best young men that he can and that’s evident and instructive to us working with the younger kids,” he said. “I don’t think you can put a value on it. That’s someone who is taking extreme ownership of his program. And know if you’re a coach of a youth team and you seen the varsity coach coming to watch your fourth graders player, and knows them by name and knows different skills, just his involvement with them comes across very clear to the parents and it makes people want to stay in the program.” Outside of the youth program, Pierce has found travel leagues, AAU tournaments and a plethora of coaches, who have stepped up over the years to coach at each level. From the start, Pierce has put in the time and effort into the entirety of his basketball program. This year’s 16-6 varsity team and 21-1 jv team is instant proof. The parents lend their time, the kids their effort, and the grandparents show up to support. But David Pierce? He’s fully invested.

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