Meet Jack Pierce: Operations Fellow
Growing up, my life was consumed by sports.
Like most kids, I dreamed of being a professional athlete. My brothers and I each played football, baseball and basketball. At a very young age, I knew that I wanted to be around sports for as long as I could.
While attending Pelham High School, I chose to focus on baseball. I wanted to hone in on my skills in order to gain a scholarship. After years of hard work, I accepted a scholarship to play baseball at Jacksonville State University. This turned out to be one of my best decisions I ever made.
After my first year at JSU, I decided to persue a degree in sports management. Sports had meant a lot to me over the years, and I knew I wanted to help provide the same experiences I had to other athletes. Having been a college athlete, I also understood the behind-the-scenes action that makes sporting events possible.
In 2017, my baseball career ended. After years of enduring back pain, I knew it was time to have back surgery, even at the expense of my career and my dream of playing professional sports.
While this surgery and its aftermath proved to be one of the most challenging parts of my life, I had no clue what opportunities it would bring me. Only a few weeks prior to my surgery, Knight Eady’s Michael Eady and Katie Jernigan came to speak to one of my sports management classes. Shortly after the talk, my professor told me that Knight Eady had an event operations internship available for the 2017 National Senior Games.
Despite that fact that I could no longer compete as an athlete, I still had a passion for sports. I applied to the internship immediately and was thrilled to receive a phone call telling me I was accepted.
Fast-forward to the end of the National Senior Games, when I was both mentally and physically exhausted after some very long days. I look back and remember how grueling each day could be, but how fun they were at the same time. The bright spots in each hard day were due to the incredible team at Knight Eady. I could not believe that a group of people could have so much fun while working so hard together. After that experience, I was hooked on the company and the operations role.
Following the National Senior Games, I continued to help Knight Eady with various events while finishing my degree at JSU. Some of the other events that I have helped with include: BHM JAM, Rocket City Classic, Vulcan Classic, Elevate the Stage, Corporate Challenge and the Hibbett mobile marketing unit. During this time, I was offered a fellowship at Knight Eady.
Making the decision to accept the offer was easy for me for several reasons. The culture at Knight Eady is incredibly unique, and the company truly lived out their core values. I am also passionate about creating sports experiences for athletes, and Knight Eady’s work allowed me to do that.
I feel like my sports journey has come full-circle. Looking back, my favorite sports memory is the time my team and I won an AHSAA State Championship. At Knight Eady, I am part of the team that is responsible for making that same event possible, and for bringing that same memory to hundreds of high school athletes each year.
The opportunity to impact others is my favorite part about being on the Knight Eady team. I believe in sports because I’ve personally been affected by experiences I’ll never forget.