Pearce was born and raised in Provo, Utah, where he graduated from Timpview High School in 1984. He grew up on the BYU tennis courts where his father, Wayne Pearce, was the men's tennis coach for nearly 20 years. Pearce finished his junior career as the No. 2 ranked junior player in the United States (No. 1 computer-ranked) and was also ranked No. 5 in the world ITF. Pearce joined the professional tour after playing two seasons of collegiate tennis at UCLA, where he was a two-time All-American in both singles and doubles, and the PAC-10 singles and doubles champion in 1986. Pearce was a semifinalist in the NCAA tournament that same year finishing his sophomore year ranked No. 4 in the nation. He was a member of the college Junior Davis Cup Team, represented the U.S. in the Galea Cup international competition, and was a gold and bronze medalist at the Goodwill Games in 1986 in Moscow, Russia.
Pearce had a successful career on the professional tour that included nine titles and a quarterfinal singles appearance on Center Court at Wimbledon in 1990, losing to the then No. 1 player in the world, Ivan Lendl, in four sets. He also had quarterfinal double appearances at both the Australian and US Open Championships. In 1990 Pearce was also selected as a traveling member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team.
Pearce's highest career ranking was No. 71 in singles and No. 23 in doubles. During his professional career Pearce had singles and/or doubles wins over John McEnroe, Peter Fleming, Pete Sampras, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, Jim Courier, Goran Ivanesivic, Henri Leconte, Scott Davis, Andre Chesnokov, Todd Magnus Gustafasson, Michael Chang, Patrick McEnroe and Ivan Lendl.
In 1995, Pearce teamed with Martina Navratilova, Richard Matuszieski and Mariaan de Swardt to win the World Team Tennis Championship for the New Jersey Stars, tying the all-time Team Tennis record for most wins. In 1997-1998, Pearce was selected to coach with the USA Tennis High Performance program of the USTA. He coached, participated in training camps, and traveled with many of the best American juniors to major events in the United States (Orange Bowl, U.S. Open), South America, Canada and Europe. Members of the teams he worked with included Andy Roddick, James Blake, Taylor Dent, Brian Vahaly, Scott Lipsky, David Martin and many others. In addition to his work with the USTA, Pearce worked with Mardy Fish on a private basis before his full-time commitment to BYU in January of 2000. In his first full-year as an assistant in 2001, Pearce helped Coach Osborne to a Mountain West Conference Championship, the first at BYU in 13 years. He was named head coach after his fourth season of assisting Coach Osborne. Since taking over as the head coach, Pearce has led his team to two second-place conference finishes and two MWC regular season titles, along with one MWC Championships title. In his seven-year tenure, he has also turned out eight All-MWC performers.
Additionally, Pearce coached James Ludlow, who was recognized as the Mountain Region recipient of the Ted Farnsworth Senior Player of the Year Award in 2007. Pearce was at the helm as the Cougars recorded big wins over No. 30 Cal Berkeley in 2004 and Stanford in 2007. Under his guidance, the team has finished in the top 5 in the region and in the top 75 in the country each season. Three of Pearce's former players, Nima Roshan, Shane LaPorte and Jeff Das, are among the top 600 players in the world, according to the latest ATP world professional rankings.
Pearce was inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame in November of 2006, the Utah Tennis Hall of Fame and the NCAA ITA Collegiate Hall of Fame in the spring of 2009. He currently serves on the nominating committee of the United States Tennis Association and the Collegiate Varsity Committee. Pearce was also named the PTR Member of the Year for the state of Utah in 2008. To this day, he is one of only sixteen Americans in the last twenty-three years to reach the final eight in singles at Wimbledon. Pearce graduated from BYU in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in independent studies. He and his wife Cindi have six children.