Local Sports Journal

FRUITPORT — Work has started on Fruitport High School’s new Robert H. “Doc” Pierce Field memorial. And fund-raising is still continuing.

Athletic director Ken Erny said more than $17,000 of the estimated $19,000 needed for the memorial has been raised.

He said fund-raising will continue through the purchase of engraved pavers, but Erny said the deadline for initial orders already has passed.

Doc. Pierce

Robert H. “Doc” Pierce

Pierce, a colorful figure on the Fruitport sideline for decades, served as the Trojans’ team doctor for football from 1969 through 2011 before retiring. He died in June 2013.

During his active career as a team doctor, Pierce served nine varsity head coaches at Fruitport. But it was his sense of real comradery that helped hold the program together by staying with the team.

Erny said the official field dedication will be on Thursday, Aug. 28, when Fruitport hosts Grand Haven in the season-opener for both teams at 7 p.m.

It’s an old rivalry for both schools and dates back to 1973. Fruitport leads the series 8-6-0, but the Trojans haven’t played Grand Haven since losing 21-6 in the 1999 season opener.

This will be the second season-opener in the series as all of the earlier meetings occurred in either the eighth or ninth week of the regular season each year.

It also will mark the debut of a new Grand Haven head football coach. Former assistant Jason Duram has been named the Buccaneers’ interim head coach to replace Mike Farley who moved to Georgia after the 2013-14 school year.

Erny said the long-term goal for the Pierce fund-raiser is for the funds to be used for a Doc Pierce memorial scholarship fund that has been established by the Fruitport Education Foundation. That fund will start once all of the costs for the memorial are covered.

Donations to the Pierce “Buy a Brick” fundraiser should specify the memorial with checks made payable to the Fruitport Community Schools. Contributions may be mailed to Fruitport schools at 3255 Pontaluna Rd., Fruitport, MI 49415.