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John Ernst

Football, Basketball & Baseball (Inducted: 2010-11)


John  Ernst

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.

Ernst was the Leopards' starting quarterback for three seasons and Lafayette compiled an overall record of 20-5-2 during that span. Following his collegiate career, he joined the Pottsville Maroons of the NFL from 1925-28 and led the 1925 team to the championship game in the league's inaugural season. He also spent the 1929 season with the Boston Braves and later joined the Frankford Yellow Jackets, a team that later became the Philadelphia Eagles of today's NFL.

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.