Ernst was a three-sport student-athlete during his days on College Hill. He was a member of the football, basketball and baseball squads and arguably his greatest successes came on the gridiron and baseball diamond.
For four seasons, Ernst was Lafayette's first-string catcher and went on to play minor league baseball in the Eastern League. In 1929, he played for the Williamsport Grays where he met his wife, the former Dorothy Reese. In 1930, he was a member of the Wilkes-Barre Barons and played professional baseball until 1937.
Ernst also spent one season as the captain of the Lafayette freshman basketball squad.
In 1981, he was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Ernst, whose father John A. Ernst was a 1904 graduate of Lafayette as well as a former Leopard football player, spent the final 20-plus years of his life working as a supervisor and salesman at his father-in-law's lumber company. He passed away on March 8, 1968. He is survived by twin sons Jack B. Ernst and James B. Ernst and son Joseph R. Ernst. He has two grandsons, John B. Ernst '11 and James J. Ernst, as well as a granddaughter, Pamela Rockafellow.
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