The new head coach for La Crescent-Hokah High School’s volleyball program is an energetic guy.
“I’m pretty enthusiastic,” Mike Ernster said with a laugh. “I’m a pretty loud guy, just ask anybody.”
Ernster, who will take over the program this fall after former coach Jonathon Reim resigned at the end of last season, is ready to bring that energy to his team.
“If you’re doing something and you’re not having fun then nobody is going to want to be there. I want the girls to have a great experience while they get better as volleyball players and people,” Ernster said. “I have a great group of coaches, and we’re excited to get this season going and to continue to grow the program.”
Ernster began playing competitive volleyball in high school before joining recreational leagues and coaching his own children in their youths. He served as a volunteer assistant coach with the La Crescent prep volleyball program in the early 2000s before taking over as the manager of the La Crescent adult volleyball league.
He applied for the head coach position after years of thinking about getting back into the program.
“I’ve thought about it for years to be honest,” he said. “I love the kids, the school and the sport.”
Ernster already knows many of the high school students from his job as an officer with the La Crescent Police Department. It’s something that will be an advantage for him come fall.
“He’s in our building a few times a week to connect with kids on a positive level, and occasionally he even sits down and eats lunch with the kids. He has a positive rapport with our students,” activities director Jeff Copp said.
Copp thought Ernster was the right fit for the program due to the energy he carries.
“He brings such an energy and optimism to our volleyball program that we’re all looking forward to,” Copp said. “He has a vision of how to make this program grow.”
Ernster hopes to bring the energetic personality onto the court with him to help the girls improve at each level. He takes over a program that finished last season 2-14, but early indications show that he will have a sizable senior class and team to work with when the season begins this fall. Ernster said that while it’s nice to win games, his focus will be on something bigger.
“I’m not huge on the wins and losses part of it, but I want to make sure the girls get better and have fun,” he said. “We’re going to work hard and practice like we play and we will take it from there.”
He’s excited for the season.