Eliza Pierre Returns to Cal as Assistant Coach
BERKELEY – Not long ago, Eliza Pierre was on the floor at Haas Pavilion, setting records for steals and games played and leading the Golden Bears to their first Final Four appearance in 2013. Now, after four years of coaching at UC Santa Barbara, Pierre is back in Berkeley as a part of head coach Charmin Smith's coaching staff.
"When you say the name Eliza Pierre to a true Cal women's basketball fan, you will undoubtedly get a smile in return," Smith said. "Eliza embodies so much of what has been the key to our most successful teams: toughness, selflessness, energy, competitiveness and a high basketball IQ. She's grown into one of the most hard working and knowledgeable young assistants in the game and I can't even express in words how happy I am to have her back in Bear Territory."
At Cal, Pierre was a 4-time Pac-10/12 All-Defensive Team honoree from 2009-2013 and earned the team's defensive most valuable player award after the '09-'10 season. She played in seven NCAA Tournament games between 2012 and 2013 including 21 minutes in the Bears' Final Four game against Louisville in New Orleans in 2013. Pierre still holds the fifth-most career steals in program history (243), the sixth-most in a single season (90) and her 140 games played are ranked fourth overall.
After a one-year sports management fellowship at the Pac-12 Conference office, Pierre joined the women's basketball staff at Cal as the assistant director of basketball operations intern for the 2016-17 season. By the end of the year, she was promoted to interim assistant coach which ultimately launched her coaching career. Pierre spent the next four seasons as an assistant coach at UCSB where the Gauchos collected 41 wins, reached the Big West Tournament semifinals in 2020 (before the remainder of the tournament was canceled) and then the quarterfinals in 2021. She also guided nine players to all-conference honors.
A native of Pasadena, California, Pierre was a McDonald's All-American at John Muir High School where she was also named Second Team All-State, 2009 Player of the Year and 2009 Athlete of the Year in the San Gabriel Valley. She was also the No. 3-rated point guard by ESPN HoopGurlz her senior season and No. 22 overall. Pierre led John Muir High to four Pacific League championships and also ran two years of track.
"I am really excited to come back to Cal as it's an opportunity to work with an amazing staff including one of my really close mentors and someone who I trust in Charmin," Pierre said. "When I first got into this business, I would regularly contact both Charmin and [Assistant Coach] Kai Felton. It's really great to be working with the Cal family again. As an alumna, you never really disconnect from Cal. I am still in touch with [Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director, Chief of Staff & Senior Woman Administrator] Jennifer Simon O'Neill and others around the program which is a testament to the department."