Charlie Ernst, an assistant men’s basketball coach at The University of Findlay for the past 20 years, was named the Oilers new head coach on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 as he replaced the recently retired Ron Niekamp. Ernst, who has served as the associate head coach in each of the past five years, becomes the program’s 15th different head coach since 1902 and only the fourth since 1947.
“I am thrilled that Charlie has accepted the challenge of becoming our new head men’s basketball coach,” said UF Director of Athletics Steven Rackley. “He knows our program and has prepared himself for this opportunity. He knows our school, who we are and what we are about.”
During his time with the program, Ernst has assisted in helping transform the Oilers into a national power. In his 20 years on the sideline the Oilers have accumulated a 479-136 (.779) record, which includes a perfect 36-0 season en route to the 2009 NCAA Division II National Championship.
For his efforts during the Oilers magical national title run, Ernst was selected as the “Rising Star” award winner, meaning he was one of five coaches in the NCAA to be named Assistant Coach of the Year. He was the only NCAA Division II coach on the list.
“I am very excited to be presented with this opportunity,” said Ernst. “I have been preparing for this for the past 20-plus years as a player and coach at Findlay and I am looking forward to carrying out the tradition that Ron has built.”
Ernst has also been a vital cog in helping the Oilers achieve ten GLIAC South Division regular season championships (1998, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011) and five GLIAC Tournament titles (2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010). The Oilers, with Ernst on the sideline, have also sported a 22-6 record in the GLIAC Tournament and a 15-8 record in the NCAA Division II Tournament, which included an Elite Eight berth in 2005 and a Sweet 16 appearance in 2008.
“I am taking over a program that competes on the highest level,” said Ernst. “I have a big task ahead of me, but I am confident we have the players, people and support that is necessary to continue the success.”
Ernst graduated from The University of Findlay in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing. He holds a master’s degree in education from UF as well. While at Findlay, Ernst was a varsity letter-winner in both basketball and golf.
A native of Minster, Ohio, Ernst was a three-year letterman, two-time team MVP, two-time all-Midwest Athletic Conference selection and honorable mention all-Ohio during his career at Minster High School.
“This coaching search was easy,” said Rackley. “Charlie understands the importance of doing things the right way and he is absolutely the best person for the job.”