Updated: Thursday, 19 Jul 2012, 12:49 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 18 Jul 2012, 11:22 PM EDT
HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) - Behind every great athlete is a great coach.
But Maurice Pierce is much more than a coach to Olympic athlete Francena McCorory.
"I met him back in 2003 and ever since then he has been a support system for me. Me and my biological father are not very close, so he has been that father figure for me ever since," McCorory told WAVY.com.
The road to the Olympics has not been easy for McCorory. Ever since her days at Bethel High School she has dealt with a series of setbacks that have made her question her ability.
"Her last year in high school she has the hamstring injury. And then she had the car accident when she came here and then she got hurt again and then had two more car accidents. So if you put all of that together you have frustration and it leads to doubt," explained Pierce.
But despite those hard times, Pierce was always at her side.
"He's always believed in me at times when I didn't really believe in myself."
A Newport News native and Norfolk State graduate, Pierce has served as the Women's track coach at Hampton University for the past ten years and was recently named Director of Track and Field at the school.
Pierce has coached five Olympians, but he has never gone to the Olympics games with someone quite as close as he is to McCorory.
"I'm going with someone I consider a daughter, not just an athlete. This is something that you can take to the grave. This is lifelong that you will never ever, ever forget. And because we are so close it will be heart felt when you see her at the ceremony with the uniform on and the smile. That's when it becomes emotional."
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