Steve Ernst is in his third season as the head men's basketball coach at Olivet College in 2018-19.
In 2017-18, Ernst led the Comets to a 16-11 overall record and a share of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) title with a 10-4 record. Olivet last won a MIAA championship in 1973. In addition, Olivet hosted the MIAA Tournament semifinals and championship game for the first time in school history. Ernst coached three All-MIAA selections, including MIAA Most Valuable Player and scoring champion Jalen Adams.
During his first season on the Comet sideline in 2016-17, Ernst led the Comets to a 9-16 overall record. The nine wins were two more than the previous two seasons combined. He also mentored Eric Ewing who was the MIAA's scoring champion.
Ernst has a wealth of coaching experience at all levels of basketball. Most recently, he was the head boys' basketball coach at Charlotte High School. In 2014-15, Ernst led the Orioles to 15 wins, the most victories in 23 years. Charlotte also advanced to the sweet 16 of the MHSAA Boys Basketball Tournament for only the fifth time in the 106 years of Oriole basketball. In 2015-16, Charlotte was ranked seventh in the preseason Class B poll. After posting a 4-2 record, Ernst resigned due to medical reasons (migraines).
Ernst was also the head varsity boys’ basketball coach at Cheboygan High School for the 2013-14 season, leading the Chiefs to an outright league title with a 7-1 record. Before that, Ernst was the head boys’ basketball coach at Lansing Christian High School in 2012-13, guiding the Pilgrims to a 22-4 record and a spot in the MHSAA semifinals. Ernst’s other high school coaching experience includes stops at Grand Rapids Central, Pentwater and Summit Christian Academy.
Ernst began his coaching career as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Glen Oaks Community College for the 1998-99 season, helping the Vikings become the NJCAA Region XII runner-up. The next season, he served as a volunteer assistant coach at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). Ernst left GVSU to start his high school coaching career at Grand Rapids Central, where he had a 16-5 record and the Grand Rapids City League Championship with an 11-1 mark.
Ernst returned to GVSU in Aug. 2002 to become the head assistant coach. During his second stint at GVSU, he was responsible for the Lakers’ top two recruiting classes.
Ernst has his roots close to Olivet, as he graduated from Charlotte High School in 1986. He played for his father, Jerry, averaging 28 points and eight assists, and earning first-team All-State honors as a senior. Ernst began his collegiate basketball career at GVSU and later played at Alma, leading the MIAA in assists during the 1989. He returned home to graduate and earn a bachelor’s degree in human relations from Olivet College in 1991.