In 1986, the University High girls basketball team opened the season at Kamloops. That much we know.
The score, however, is a mystery. It is the only girls basketball score involving a Greater Spokane League team in the past 30-plus years that superstar statistician Bill Pierce does not know.
If you spend even a few minutes with Pierce, two things are immediately apparent. He is very meticulous and he has an amazing memory.
Combine those two things with one of his main passions in life – high school athletics – and you can understand why he has become an invaluable resource to area writers, broadcasters and coaches.
Pierce has amassed an amazing database of records and statistics. Until now, few people had access to that information.
If Pierce is looking for information, he will find it. He uses the World Wide Web and is amazed at the information at his fingertips. But the real key to Pierce’s success is his willingness to dig into old publications at libraries and newspaper offices. He can tell endless stories of successful information-gathering journeys. He went to Kamloops, B.C., to find the score of that U-Hi game. He found an article that claimed U-Hi won, but the score went unreported.
Perhaps more amazing is Pierce’s recall of historical factoids he has gathered along the way. He can tell you how area schools decided on a mascot. With great detail, he can tell you why several Spokane schools had to forfeit football games in 1934 because of ineligible players. He can also tell you why there was just one Spokane high school football game in 1918 and it was played on Thanksgiving Day. He can tell you when one league started and another disbanded. From 1939 to 1997, just two men coached football at Gonzaga Prep. Billy Frazier and Don Anderson won 399 games in that span. Bill Pierce has the result of every game.
After high school, Bill Pierce was a full-time caregiver for his ailing father. Everything else took a back seat. After watching a girls basketball game at Central Valley in 1983, Pierce approaced the coach, Jack Blair, and told him to call if he needed help keeping stats. Before the day was over, Blair called Pierce. He has been doing game stats for Central Valley ever since.
We approached Pierce over the summer and offered a platform to display all of his data. The groundwork has been laid to get all the records on the website. Football will be the focus early on, but in time we will have all available school records, league standings and coaching records in basketball as well. The Almanac menu will also include past all-league honors and photos, awards, and stats from past years on all high school sports.
Pierce will also have a blog with sports history lessons. We will repurpose some of that content to run on our Thursday prep page.
Asked what motivates him, Pierce simply responds, “It’s just kind of a thing I enjoy doing. I always liked to keep track of things and I love to research.”
So, please, if you know the score of that U-Hi basketball game in 1986, don’t hold back. And for all other scores and records, see Bill Pierce’s Almanac at NWPrepsNow.com.
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