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Donn has over-achieved on every coaching level; Grammar School, High School and College. He has produced numerous state champions and national champions. His historic wrestling videos are in the National Hall of Fame (Oklahoma City, Ok). The elite coaches consider him the video pioneer for utilizing video as teaching tool. During the 1970’s, his videos were used by USA TEAMS (AAU) for scouting foreign World and Olympic Champions. Donn was selected for assignment to the following World Championship events; Minsk, Lausanne, Mexico City, San Diego. And the 1976 Olympics; Montreal. In 1975, Donn traveled to Bulgaria for another wrestling event. A year of traveling was over 25,000 miles. Studying the World Class Wrestlers gives him a tremendous insight to creating a unique system of wrestling for all ages.

In 1965, Donn began coaching in his hometown of Edison, NJ. As a grammar school coach, he compiled a four-year record of 39-3-1. He has a victory over Easton, PA. (ten year record of 117-3 and stopped their 37 matched winning streak). Easton High School credits their grammar school program for making their high school team into a national power.

In 1970, he become a New Jersey High School coach, without a feeder program. He taught the same technique from his successful grammar school days. His first team record was 6-8. This was not good!!! After the 1971 wrestling season, he attended a coaches clinic. There he met Billy Martin (Granby HS; Virginia Beach, Va). The National Hall of Fame coach said, “you gotta study the best in the world.” Coach Martin’s theory completely changed Donn’s grammar school coaching philosophy. It motivated Donn to purchase reel to reel video recording equipment. It enabled him to record the 1972 Wrestling Olympics, broadcast by ABC Sports. After that, everything fell into place. Four years later, he was in Montreal videotaping the 1976 Olympics for the United States Wrestling Team (AAU). For the past thirty-five years, prominent coaches continually request his World Class Videos.

In 1973, he videotaped his first Russian versus USA dual meet. Dan Gable’s final USA dual meet vs. Russia (New York City). In 1975, he was selected the USA (AAU) Scouting Technician and traveled to Minsk for the World Championships. One month later, Donn was a clinician for the Dan Gable Sports Medalist Coaches Clinic. When Dan became the head coach of University of Iowa, Coach Gable requested Donn’s videos.

During the 1970’s, he built his high school team into a state power and consistently sent his athletes to the NJ State Tournaments. More importantly, on to college. In 1977, he was selected Region High School Coach Of The Year.

By 1978, took on a new challenge, coaching at the University of Pittsburgh and was an under grad student. First year, most wins in their history (13-4) and sending 5 of 10 to the NCAA Tournament. Ending the season nationally ranked. While coaching and teaching at University, he remained involved with the USA World Teams (AAU). He was able to graduate from Pittsburgh in three years. By 1980, he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and his New Jersey State Teaching Certificate. In 2002, he was named Wal-Mart Teacher of the Year (local). In 2009, he retired from teaching with 33 years of service ; twenty years in public school and 13 years in private school.

In 1999, Amateur Wrestling News did a three part series on the 1972-1976 United States Olympic Wrestling Teams. It was written by historian David Zang (Towson State College). Mr. Zang requested Donn’s video, “The Best of the Past.” It gave Mr. Zang greater knowledge and understanding of the 1970’s United States Olympic Teams. Amateur Wrestling News proclaimed Donn as the “truest video pioneer.”

In 2000-2001, he was invited to Yakutsk, The Republic of Sakha (Siberia) and Bishkek, Kyrgystan to teach his wrestling system to coaches and athletes. The Republic of Sakha is still under Russia control. Not many world coaches are invited to coach on Russian soil. This was made possible through the President of Sakha, Alexander Mostakhov and Pavel Pinigin (Wrestling President). At the conclusion of the Yakutsk Wrestling Banquet, he was awarded with a huge Siberian bear skin.

In July 2002, he took a high school athlete to Chuvashia, Russia. He wrestled at four different villages and was 4-2. The athlete became the first American to compete in the Chuvashia Region. It had four days of national television coverage. Diplomacy without politics. Three weeks later, he was home conducting a wrestling clinic for the TOMORROWS CHILDREN FUND. Children who have been diagnosed with cancer or serious blood disorders. With the financial support of Wal-Mart, $18,000 was raised in one day. Eighty wrestlers attended, with a greater lesson learned. He made other financial contributions; Katrina Relief Fund, Toys For Tots, Red Cross and other charitable events. Consciously aware of people with greater needs than just sport.

Donn’s Legendary Wrestling Videos were a contributor in making the video/movie “Unfading Glory.” It was produced by Athletes in Action.

Coach Terry Brands, University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA) & Tyler Solley (Easton, PA) are the co-benefactors to Donn Ernst Legendary Wrestling Videos. Coach Brands & Tyler’s dedication to people and the sport of wrestling has granted them full access to Donn Ernst Historic Wrestling Video Library.

The photo to the right shows Gene Zannetti III pointing to his parents on his way to winning the 2002 Region Tournament and OW. And placed 3rd in the NJ High School State Tournament. A tribute to his faith and parents.

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Donn Ernst
1100 Cornwallis Drive
Easton, PA 18040
Phone: 610-438-3514