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Eden's Stephen Pierce inducted into Prep Talk Hall of Fame

Eight straight state titles. Fourteen state titles overall. A New York State-record 995 overall wins.

Longtime Eden girls volleyball coach Stephen Pierce, who's retiring after 28 years on the job, was a no-brainer to be the 2017 inductee into the Prep Talk Hall of Fame.

Pierce joins some exclusive company with past inductees Dick Gallagher, the late Sister Maria Pares and Dennis DiPaolo.

"People always say you've touched so many lives, you've impacted young lives," Pierce said at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo Hotel and Conference Center Wednesday night. "And that's true, but as a coach who's watched many kids grow up from 8 years old into adults who are now in their 30s and having kids, what I'm most pleased about is how much they impacted my life. There are so many kids who I got the chance to work with who really enriched my life."

The newest member of the Prep Talk Hall of Fame wanted to leave two messages for the audience.

One was for the coaches.

"My message to the coaches is thank you," Pierce said. "From one of your colleagues, I know how much time you put in, the emotional and physical investment, the late nights, the weekends. And I know for most of the coaches who are here, who are program builders, it is not a two- or three-month job and then you're done with the season. It's a 52-week endeavor.

"All the lives that you've touched, all the lives that you'll continue to touch, I'd like to personally thank you all for that."

The other was for the athletes.

"You've put incredible amounts of time in a gym, on the field, you've deserved everything you've gotten and I think many of you are going to go on to do some great things," Pierce said. "But my one thing I'd like to say to you is more imploring.

"When you hang up the sneakers or the cleats, consider at some point in your adult lives coming back to this profession. It's not just because we want to keep this going for other young kids to experience what you've experienced. Even if you coach part time, give a little time on the weekends, it's such an incredibly rewarding experience."

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