D’Angelo: Agent Markenson Pierre wants to show youth in Belle Glade career options extend beyond the field
Aspiring athletes in the Glades have no shortage of examples who have risen from the muck to become successful professional athletes. From Rickey Jackson and Jessie Hester to Fred Taylor and Anquan Boldin and scores more, the southeast side of Lake Okeechobee is rich in world-class athletes.
But excelling on the field at the highest level isn’t the only option for those who want to pursue a career in sports, which is why Markenson Pierre, an Army veteran, attorney and fledgling agent, was so eager for his story to be told.
Pierre, 35, was born in Haiti and moved to Belle Glade with his family at the age of 11. His dad came to South Florida more than a decade earlier to start the long process of being able to provide for his family by working in the cane and corn fields.
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Pierre was a football star at Glades Central and, his senior year, Glades Day. He headed to West Point where he was a four-year letterman as a defensive back for the Black Knights. After graduation, Pierre was commissioned in the Army as a logistics officer and served for seven years, including two in Iraq where he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. He then enrolled at the University of Alabama School of Law and received his juris doctor in 2018.
Last July, Pierre, who works at a commercial litigation firm in Miami, launched Muck Sports and is certified by the NFL Players Association. He signed his first client, running back Caleb Huntley, who rushed for nearly 3,000 yards in 33 games for Ball State and is ranked No. 20 among running backs by USA Today. Huntley is projected as a late-round pick or an undrafted signee and has drawn attention from at least 20 teams with the NFL Draft scheduled for next week.
This has been Pierre’s path to a career in professional sports. Maybe not the first option for those athletes who chased rabbits as children, or now train by running the dike, but certainly one that could be as fulfilling and certainly longer lasting.
“When people think of Belle Glade they think (being) a professional athlete is the only avenue out,” said Pierre, who lives in Fort Lauderdale. “There are some very intelligent and motivated young people in Belle Glade. There are many different avenues to make it in life.
“You don’t have to play in the NFL to be successful in sports. You can be a business lawyer, you can be a player agent, you can be a trainer. All it takes is the right motivation and having the right people in your corner advising you, and you having the grit to not give up.”
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Pierre’s inspiration has come from his father, Audris, and mother, Icleda, who worked in the packing houses. Both still live in Belle Glade. He remembers his dad waking at 5 a.m. each morning and heading to the fields.
Markenson knew the work was grueling and exhausting, most of the time being done under the blazing hot sun with little rest. He also knew the sacrifices his parents were making to make life better for himself and his three siblings. Markenson has a brother who has followed his path and is a rising senior fullback at West Point, and a sister attending FIU.
“Seeing how hard my dad worked and the things he did to make way for us, there is no way in the world I can do anything less than that,” Pierre said. “I would be ashamed of myself if I had more resources, more opportunities, and not make the most of it.”
Brian Seider, a longtime assistant at Glades Day who coached Pierre in high school, knew Pierre’s future was bright when realizing he inherited his parents’ traits.
“His dad is one of the hardest working guys you’ll ever meet and Markenson was one of the hardest workers,” said Seider, 46, who has been at Glades Day for 23 years.
“Everybody thinks sports, particularly football is the only way out and that’s just not the case. Football can be a means to an end. It can get you out, it can get you an education. (Pierre) is a great representation ... If you want to be a lawyer, doctor, teacher, whatever you want to be, it’s there for you.”
And the Glades’ history of producing accomplished athletes could be a boon for Pierre’s agency. Who better to have as a representative than someone who has walked in your footsteps?
“I can relate to them a lot more than people who have never lived in their shoes,” he said.
Pierre does not intend to stop representing his clients once a contract is signed. He will be a resource to help them as professional athletes and to prepare them for what comes next.
“The makeup of football is minorities, particularly young Black men who are coming from different levels of the social economic sector,” he said. “There are so many things that don’t have anything to do with football that they need.
“More than being their agent, I want to be someone they can pick up the phone and call about anything whether it’s football, whether it’s legal, whether it’s related to life. I want to be a resource more than I want to be an agent to them.”