John Pierce is stepping down after 16 seasons as the Franklin Road Academy boys basketball coach.

John Pierce is stepping down after 16 seasons as the Franklin Road Academy boys basketball coach.

The school announced the move in a news release on Wednesday afternoon.

Pierce, an FRA alumnus, led the Panthers to five state final four appearances and four runner-up finishes during his tenure.“FRA has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember,” Pierce said. “I am thankful for the young men I have had the privilege of coaching; being a part of their high school stories has been a tremendous blessing in my life.”Pierce first built his name as a star player at Lipscomb University in the early 1990s. He amassed 4,230 career points with the Bisons – a mark that still stands as the most in college basketball history at any level.The four-time NAIA All-American went on to play professionally overseas and was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.FRA assistant head coach Joshua Lester will serve as the interim head coach while FRA athletic director Kris Palmerton begins the search for Pierce’s replacement.Lester, who played at Belmont from 2013-17, began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under legendary Bruins coach Rick Byrd. He later served as the head coach at Cincinnati Christian University and has held various coaching roles at Brentwood Academy, where he played high school basketball.Pierce’s departure represents the end of an era for FRA.He helped develop eventual Division I college players like Rob Marberry (Lipscomb) and Kenny Cooper (Tennessee State) as the Panthers advanced to the DII-A title game three of out four seasons in 2014, 2016 and 2017.Pierce reached the 300-win milestone for his career last season, but FRA finished 13-13 this year and was eliminated by Columbia Academy in the first round of the district tournament.“I am incredibly grateful to Coach Pierce for his commitment to our student athletes and the Franklin Road Academy basketball program,” Palmerton said. “I am thankful to John for his dedication to growing and developing our players – both as athletes and as young men.”