Driven to Succeed

Author: Malcolm McDowell Woods

Published Date: 2/13/2019

Categories: Athletics F1RST Magazine F1RST Spring 2019 Students

Men's Basketball Player Ray Pierce

"He embodies everything our program is about"

Ray Pierce playing in a basketball game against Marquette University

Sometimes, it’s not how many points you score, or how many rebounds you grab. Sometimes, our focus on stats in sports misses the stories. At Carroll, student-athletes are students first, young men and women who are so much more than the numbers on their uniforms and whose college years mean so much more than their win-loss records.

Take Ray Pierce, for example. The fourth-year guard may not be in the top five in scoring, rebounds or assists for the Pioneers. But he’s a leader in the eyes of coach Paul Combs. “He’s a big piece of this team, the backbone,” said Combs. “He’s faced adversity and he’s had to earn everything in his life, and maybe because of that, he is very mature. He’s hardworking and selfless. He embodies everything our program is about.” Combs named Pierce one of the team’s captains this year.

Pierce is from Milwaukee and played basketball at Milwaukee Messmer. He was a multisport student-athlete, playing baseball and football as well as hoops, but basketball is his love. He chose Carroll because the coaching staff he met seemed to genuinely care about him as a person. Four years later, he is certain they do. “We’re family,” he said. “The guys on this team, we’re brothers.”

Pierce is the first member of his family to attend college, and he is thankful for the chance. He credits his mother, his two older brothers and his grandfather for helping him succeed. “My grandpa has always pushed me to be better.”

Combs said Pierce is a leader off the court as well and has become a great ambassador for Carroll, working with children in the community through the Reading with Pios literacy project. Pierce enjoys the experience and says he understands the value of education. He’ll graduate in December 2019 with a marketing major and a communication minor and look to begin his career where sports and marketing intersect. Until then? “I’m just trying to get better. At everything.” Don’t doubt him.

WTMJ Report

Ray Pierce and his fellow men's basketball teammates were recently featured during a WTMJ4 news segment. Reporter Lance Allan covered the partnership of the men's basketball team with Sharp Literacy to inspire students to read in Waukesha County schools.

Watch the report here

Journal Sentinel Article

Jim Stingl from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently profiled Ray Pierce and his work with Sharp Literacy. 

Read the article on JSOnline

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Panoramic View of campus