Donn Ernst, 77, passed away Sunday July 25, 2021 in Bethlehem, PA after an extended illness. He was a long time resident of Edison and 10 year resident of Easton, Pennsylvania where he was a devoted member of the Faith Lutheran Church. Donn was a graduate of Edison High School and the University of Pittsburgh. He taught at St. Joseph High School (Metuchen), Newton High School, and in the Jersey City school system. He is widely known as a wrestling coach and technician.
Beginning in the 1960's Donn founded the successful Edison Recreation Wrestling program and raised the St. Joseph High School program to a state power that saw 15 district champions in 4 years. Later he coached at the University of Pittsburgh, privately, and at several Central Jersey clubs.
Donn was a pioneer in the use of video in coaching and also assisted the New Jersey Devils in video analysis. Beginning with the 1976 Olympics he began working with the American team and was involved in coaching several Olympic wrestlers. Donn formed a New Jersey team that competed in Bulgaria, took several wrestlers to compete in Russia and participated in numerous World Championships.
Through international competitions he developed numerous friendships with Olympic Medalists Dan Gable, Terry Brands, Bobby Douglas, Pavel Pinigin, LLoyd Keaser, Ben Peterson, Steve Mocco, Lee Kemp, and the Beloglazov brothers. For many years he was prominent in wrestling clinics both in the US and overseas and was honored by the American Wrestling Hall of Fame. Recently he worked with the Iowa University program while writing a detailed compendium of the greatest Olympic and World Championship wrestling matches of the 1970's.
Donn touched many lives through sports, the "Children Wrestling with Cancer Foundation'' which he established, and his help at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Donn is survived by numerous friends; several cousins; his former ward, Tyler Solley of Easton; and his brother Al and his wife Barbara Westerfield of Bridgewater.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit on Friday, July 30, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Boylan Funeral Home, 10 Wooding Avenue in Edison. Funeral services will be held Saturday, July 31st at 10:00 a.m. at the Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Washington Monumental Cemetery in South River.