Charlie Ernst will be entering his ninth season at the helm of the Oilers men’s basketball program during the 2019-20 campaign. As Findlay's head coach, Ernst has guided the Oilers to an overall record of 187-57 (.766). Since becoming head coach on March 30, 2011, Ernst has led his program to a pair of Sweet 16 appearances, six NCAA Division II National Tournament appearances, two Great Midwest Athletic Conference (G-MAC) titles, four Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) South Division championships, and three GLIAC Tournament titles.
During his tenure at the helm of the Oilers, Ernst has consistently had his team ranked in the top-25 of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) NCAA Division II poll. He has coached four NCAA Division II All-Americans, eight all-region and 17 all-conference players in his time as the head coach at UF. He was also voted the G-MAC Coach of the Year in 2017-18 and again in 2018-19.
In 2018-19, Ernst led the Oilers to a 28-5 record, which included a regular season conference title. His squad advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA Division II Tournament and ended the season ranked eighth in the nation.
During the 2017-18 campaign, Ernst led the Oilers to a 28-5 record, which included a regular season G-MAC title and a trip to the Sweet 16. The Oilers ended the season ranked 13th in the nation and began their tournament run by beating Drury in the first round before taking down #4 Bellarmine in the second to reach the Sweet 16. They then fell to #2 Ferris State, who went on to win the national championship, in the in the regional final.
In 2016-17, Ernst led Findlay to a 25-7 record and a 15-1 record in Croy Gymnasium. The Oilers won the GLIAC South title and entered the NCAA Division II National Tournament seeded sixth in the region. Findlay knocked off the three-seed, #16 Southern Indiana, in the first round, and then bounced the two-seed and GLIAC champion, #14 Ferris State, to advance to their fourth Sweet Sixteen in program history.
In the 2015-16 season, the Oilers finished 20-8 under Ernst's leadership, which included a 13-1 mark in games played within the friendly confines of Croy Gymnasium. That was a year after the Oilers went 16-11 during the 2014-15 campaign, which included a GLIAC South Division title.
Ernst led the Oilers to a 24-6 record during the 2013-14 campaign and a GLIAC South Division title. The Oilers, who finished the year ranked 21st in the nation, captured a GLIAC Tournament title and earned a trip to the NCAA Division II National Tournament. The Oilers were upended in the first round however as they fell 88-83 in overtime to Lake Superior State University.
During the 2012-13 season, Ernst led the Oilers to a 22-8 record. He guided the Oilers to a GLIAC South Division title and also captured a GLIAC Tournament championship. The Oilers qualified for the NCAA Division II Tournament, but were upended in the first round by eventual national champion, Drury.
In his first year as a head coach during the 2011-12 campaign, Ernst went 24-7. He guided the Oilers to a GLIAC Tournament title, which was the programs first away from the friendly confines of Croy Gymnasium. The Oilers then reached the NCAA Division II Tournament, before falling in the second round to Bellarmine University. He earned his first collegiate victory as a head coach on November 12, 2011, winning 92-62 against Ohio Valley University in Croy Gymnasium.
Ernst was named the Oilers head basketball coach on March 30, 2011, taking over for retired Ron Niekamp. Ernst had served as Niekamp’s assistant for 20 years before his promotion.
Ernst has been associated with some of the best teams in school history. His tutelage on the defensive side of the ball has allowed the Oilers to become one of the most successful teams in terms of winning percentage at the NCAA Division II level since the year 2000.
During the 2008-09 campaign, Ernst, serving as the associate head coach, helped lead the Oilers to the best season in NCAA Division II history. The Oilers finished the season with a perfect 36-0 record en route to a NCAA Division II National Championship. For his efforts during the Oilers magical run to a championship, Ernst was selected as a “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.
Ernst was also 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) as an assistant and five GLIAC Tournament titles (2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) during his career under head coach Ron Niekamp.
The Oilers, with Ernst on the sideline as a head coach and during his time as an assistant, sport a 31-7 overall record in the GLIAC Tournament and a 16-11 record in games during the NCAA Division II Tournament, which includes an Elite 8 berth in 2005, a Sweet 16 appearance in 2008 and a national title in 2009.
In addition to his in-season coaching, Ernst founded the UF Cager Club which serves as both a fundraising arm and booster club for the men’s basketball program. It has grown each year and currently boasts over 180 members with a dollar amount of over $12,000.
Ernst also remains extremely busy in the summer months. He directs the UF Oiler Basketball team camps. This past year, 190 schools participated in the four sessions (junior varsity and varsity) from three states. The Oilers team camp is considered one of the largest and best camps in Ohio. The camps also serve as a great recruiting tool for Findlay.
In addition to his coaching responsibilities while he was an assistant to Niekamp, Ernst also served as the director of athletic Marketing and promotions at The University of Findlay and has been involved in the Oilers Athletic Hall of Fame during his tenure at UF.
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 Findlay 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 and two-time team MVP for Minster High School. He was also a two-time all-Midwest Athletic Conference selection and was named honorable mention all-Ohio during during his career.
Ernst resides in Findlay with his wife, Belinda, and their daughter, Allison, and son, Sam.