Before Holy Cross, Tierney was a
high school track star in New Haven, Conn., where he was team
captain and won many interscholastic honors in the
sport. He became a Crusader in 1921 and immediately made
the indoor track squad and ran anchor on the mile relay team. He
ran all the middle distances and held the New England titles in the
220- and 400-yard dashes. His time in the 440 was a record for many
years. He once held the World’s record for the 500-yard run.
He won the National Intercollegiate Championship in the 400 with a
time of 47.9, the second man to break 48 seconds in this event.
In 1925 a special one mile relay race was arranged with Georgetown at Soldier Field in Chicago to determine the National Champion. Tierney ran the anchor leg and won the event for Holy Cross. 1928 was the Olympic year and he made the United States squad in the 400 meters event and made the trip to Holland. He was eliminated in the semi-finals.
When Tierney finished his athletic career, he studied at Yale Law School, worked as a reporter for the New Haven Register and was employed as a bank stock trader on Wall Street. He also taught in Putnam and Hamden, Conn., before being appointed Assistant Director of Admissions at Yale.