Pierce Holt had graduated from high school, married, had two children, and worked at a few different places when he came to Angelo State, in Texas, at 22 as a walk-on defensive lineman. He became a three-time first team all-Lone Star Conference player, a NCAA Division II All-American in his senior year, 1987, and then a standout with the 49ers from 1988 through 1992. Holt was a two-time Pro Bowler with the Niners, but he went to the Falcons in 1993, becoming the highest paid defensive player in the NFL for a short while. Holt played with amblyopia, a condition that left him with 10 percent sight in his left eye, and, after retiring, he went into ranching and business. Holt’s living in Christoval in West Texas.
Back in 2002, the 49ers profiled Holt. He said of his rookie year, 1988: “We had some great veterans and I don’t think I would have made it without them. Dwaine Board was one, Pete Kugler and Kevin Fagan. They all taught me something different. Pete Kugler helped me with my stance. I had a real narrow stance when I got there and he taught me to widen my base out and get better leverage. That helped me quite a bit.”
Holt said of his 1989 season: “The second year, after I had played more, I felt like I really contributed a lot more. I was able to enjoy that second one a lot more. Winning those first two years was nice, but it made me realize after the next six years, how fortunate I was to win those two Super Bowls. It made me appreciate it a lot more.” And, he said of the Super Bowl against the Broncos: “Yeah, I expected a closer contest, but we were both offensively and defensively hitting on all cylinders. Everybody talked about our great offense and we did have a great one, but we had a pretty dang good defense that year too.”
Holt said this about leaving for Atlanta: “I got some calls and the Falcons was one of them. I said, ‘Well, it can’t hurt to go visit. If anything, it may make the 49ers know what they thought I was worth. So I went there and the Falcons were so serious about it, they sat me down and offered me a contract. I didn’t want to leave the 49ers, but being around the league the time that I had been, I saw how unstable it was. You could be healthy one game and out the next. And for the financial security for my family and myself, I made the decision that if they would offer me a guaranteed contract, I would possibly sign with them. Knowing that the 49ers would have a chance to match it. And of course, they didn’t match it. They were not going to pay a guaranteed contract.”