John Pierce will step down as head coach of the Franklin Road Academy boys basketball team, per a release. 

Over the course of his 16 years as head coach, Pierce, an FRA alumnus, led the Panthers to five state playoffs, including four state championship appearances.

The Panthers last state playoff appearance was during the 2016-17 season. During his tenure at FRA, Pierce developed NCAA Division I players including Kenny Cooper, who currently plays for Tennessee State University, and former Lipscomb University standout Rob Marberry. 

Pierce reached 300 career wins last winter. 

“FRA has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember,” said Pierce in the release. “I am thankful for the young men I have had the privilege of coaching; being a part of their high school stories has been a tremendous blessing in my life.” 

This past season, the Panthers went 13-13 (7-7), ending its season in a 88-74 loss to Columbia Academy. 

Pierce is well-known for his basketball career at Lipscomb University, where he became the all-time/all-division scoring leader in NCAA basketball history with 4,230 points. In 2015, he was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. 

I am incredibly grateful to Coach Pierce for his commitment to our student athletes and the Franklin Road Academy basketball program,” commented Athletic Director Kris Palmerton. “I am thankful to John for his dedication to growing and developing our players, both as athletes and as young men.”  

Assistant Head Coach Joshua Lester will take on the role of interim head coach as Franklin Road Academy begins the search process.

Prior to his arrival at FRA, Lester served as the head coach for the Cincinnati Christian University men's basketball team. Lester also served as a graduate assistant for the Belmont University men’s basketball team for two seasons under former coach Rick Byrd.

Prior to his time on staff at Belmont, he spent four seasons on the Bruins roster as a member of the men's basketball team (2013-2017). Lester joined FRA last fall as the assistant athletic director and assistant basketball coach. 

Palmerton will lead the search for Franklin Road Academy’s next head coach, per the release.