Gary Ernst

photo of Gary Ernst
Alumni Achievement
Award Year: 

Gary Ernst, the winningest high school basketball coach in Arizona history, played basketball at Mesa Community College and went on to coach high school boys basketball for decades. Thirty-eight of those coaching years were in Arizona, leading teams to state titles over four decades. Inducted into the Arizona High School Athletic Coaches Hall of Fame and the Mountain View Toros Hall of Fame, he holds the state record of 943 winning games. He was named Arizona Republic Coach of the Year in 1976 when the Chandler High School Wolves won Gary his first state title. His Aztec High School New Mexico team qualified at state two of three years and were regional champs in 1982. The past 15 years of his career, Gary's teams were a dominating force in 5A basketball. In 1985 he became the Mesa Mountain View Toros team coach, winning titles in 1995, 1998, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2011.

At the heart of his legendary career is his dedication to working with kids and being an encouraging role model. Thanksgiving mornings the gym at Mountain View was opened for players and parents with many former players bringing their children and grandchildren to meet “My Coach.” He has been a member of the Arizona Coaches Association, Mesa Independent Professional Educators, and the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association. The Mountain View Gym court is being named after Gary. His signature will be etched in the hardwood floor, in the record books, and in the legends of Arizona high school basketball.