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NEW: RI Hockey & Tennis Legend Dick Ernst Passes Away

Monday, September 19, 2016

 

PHOTO: RI Heritage Hall of Fame

Rhode Island hockey and tennis legend Dick Ernst passed away. 

He leaves behind his wife Rollie and three sons, Bobby, Gordie. His son Andy passed away in November of 2014 at the age of 45. 

His son Gordie is currently the head men's and women's tennis coach at Georgetown University where he has coached the daughters of President Barack Obama. 

Dick Ernst 

Dick Ernst, 1961 graduate of Providence College, was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I. on June 11, 2005. At the time, he was only the third male from Rhode Island to be inducted.

He was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame in 2016. 

His tennis career spans over the course of six decades starting at Cranston High School in the mid-1950s before he moved on to Providence College, where he played from 1959 through 1961. 

Ernst won the Rhode Island Open in 1968 and closed in 1969. He also won titles in the R.I. Tennis League, New England Class B and New England Junior Veterans. 

In his career, Ernst played against Cliff Drysdale in the 1971 Irish Open, qualified for the Newport Amateur in 1975, losing to Chico Hagey. He also played a preliminary match against Joe Cavanagh in 1975 in front of 3,000 fans at the Providence Civic Center. 

"It wasn't like the Met, where you play in front of two parents, a park worker and three squirrels," he told Mike Szostak of the Providence Journal in 2005. 

Ernst as a Coach

Following his playing career, Ernst took over coaching, leading 115 hockey and tennis teams, both secondary and college, while also coaching cross country. 

As a hockey coach, Ernst won more than 600 hockey games including championships at four different schools in both boys and girls leagues. 

As a tennis coach, he led Cranston East to two undefeated seasons resulting in state and New England Championships in 1983 and 1984. 

At the college level, he led the Rhode Island College men's and women's teams to four Little East Championships each. 

"When you see kids play with guts and come through, it really inspires you. You love to get up in the morning and go coach," Ernst told Szostak.

He coached for more than 50 years, retiring completely in 2015.   

 

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