John Pearce, who served as head football coach at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas from 1992-1998, is in his fourth season as a member of the Bruin staff. He is in his second season as the coach of the quarterback position. During his first two seasons at UCLA, Pearce coached a promising group of defensive ends, as well as the punters and punt return unit.
During his seven years as head coach (and position coach of the quarterbacks) at Stephen F. Austin, Pearce compiled a record of 46-32-2. He produced winning seasons in five of his seven years, including 1995, when the Lumberjacks were ranked No. 4 in Division I-AA, compiled a record of 11-2 and reached the semi-finals of the NCAA playoffs. SFA also won eight games in 1997 (8-3) and 1993 ( 8-4). In fact, between 1993 and 1997, Stephen F. Austin compiled a record of 40-16-2 and was the only Division I-A or I-AA school in the state of Texas to have a winning record in each of those five seasons. They reached the NCAA I-AA playoffs twice during those years and were one of only two I-AA teams to be nationally ranked in the top 25 every week for over five years (1993-98). During that span, three different quarterbacks ranked either first or second in the Southern League in passing efficiency. Two of his quarterbacks, James Ritchey and Mike Quinn, played in the NFL.
Prior to becoming head coach at SFA, Pearce spent three seasons (1989-91) as an assistant coach at Texas A&M during Bob Toledo’s tenure as offensive coordinator. While with the Aggies, he tutored the running backs (including NCAA record-setting Greg Hill), tight ends and specialists. A&M compiled a record of 27-8-1 during the span and was ranked in the Top 20 in each of those three years. He coached three bowl teams — 1991 Cotton Bowl, 1990 Holiday Bowl, 1989 Hancock Bowl. Pearce also tutored several players drafted by the NFL over the years — Mike Jones, TE - third round Vikings 1989; Dennis Ransom, TE - sixth round Redskins 1990; Greg Hill, RB - first round Chiefs 1994; Keith McAfee, RB - 11th round Chargers 1992; Rodney Thomas, RB - third round Oilers 1995.
The Bruin assistant enjoyed a successful career as a high school coach prior to moving to Texas A&M. In five seasons (1984-88) as head coach at Fort Bend (TX) Willowridge High, he compiled a record of 51-10-1. Former Bruin standout tight end Charles Arbuckle (UCLA class of ’89) played for Pearce at Willowridge where he was named the Texas High School Coach of the Year in 1988, a year in which his team was ranked No. 2 in the nation. Pearce also spent two years (1982-83) at Sherman (TX) High (6-13-1) and seven seasons (1975-81) at Allen (TX) High (50-21-1). He also served as the defensive coordinator at Kilgore (TX) High (1974) and Waco (TX) Connally High (1970-73).
Between 1978 and 1988, four out of five of Pearce’s starting quarterbacks earned a Division IA scholarship.
RECRUITING RESPONSIBILITIES — National: Houston, TX, East Texas and national quarterbacks.
PERSONAL — Education: Bachelor’s in History, East Texas State, 1970; At UCLA: Fourth year (joined staff on February 19, 1999); Born: January 13, 1947 in Sulphur Springs, TX; Family: Pearce is married to the former Jaime McKinney and they have two children, Michael and Amy. Michael, a Texas high school coach, and his wife Kay have a daughter, Sidney. Amy and her husband Marshall McInnis have two daughters, Grayson and Claire.