Cowboys hire former PGA Tour veteran Ernst as assistant coach

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STILLWATER – Oklahoma State’s men’s golf team has announced the addition of longtime PGA Tour member Derek Ernst as an assistant coach it was announced Tuesday by Cowboy head coach Alan Bratton.

“It is not often you get a chance to hire a coach with Derek’s experience. What an opportunity! He played for a national championship coach in Dwaine Knight at UNLV and his playing record speaks for itself,” Bratton said. “Beyond that, I was sold when I got to spend time with Derek and his family. They will be a great fit in Stillwater and I cannot imagine a better person to help lead our program and mentor our guys. I can’t wait for him to get started.”

Over his playing career, Ernst made 134 starts on Tour and amassed more than $2.6 million in earnings while tallying five top-25 finishes.

“I am so excited and honored for this opportunity! I have always had a huge amount of respect for Oklahoma State and its golf program. To be a part of it now is a great privilege. I cannot wait to get started and bring my experience playing on the PGA Tour to the team to help us win a national title,” Ernst said.

In 2013, Ernst logged more than $1.3 million in earnings and notched his first career victory at the Wells Fargo Championship in a playoff. Making just his ninth career start, Ernst was granted a spot in the field off the alternate list Monday of tournament week after another player withdrew before marching to victory.

A native of Clovis, Calif., the 2014-2015 campaign saw him log three top-25 finishes, tying for 17th at the Valspar Championship, tying for 22nd at the Greenbrier Classic and tying for 18th place at the Wyndham Championship. Ernst also tied for 21st place at the 2023 Puerto Rico Open.

He played in a pair of major championships during his professional career, making starts at The Masters in 2014 and the PGA Championship in 2013.

Prior to joining the professional ranks, Ernst enjoyed a standout career at UNLV that saw him earn All-America status on multiple occasions as well as all-conference status four times.

As a freshman in 2009, Ernst was named to the All-Mountain West Conference squad after logging a pair of top-five finishes. The following year, he was named a third-team All-American as well as the 2010 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year. Ernst logged a pair of individual victories, claiming medalist honors at the Tucker Invitational and the Wimberly Intercollegiate. Overall, Ernst recorded seven top-10 finishes on the year, including five top-five showings in 13 events.

In 2011, Ernst repeated as the Mountain West Player of the Year and captured the conference individual title in dramatic fashion with a birdie on the third playoff hole. That summer, he was runner-up at the U.S. Public Links Championship, falling on the first playoff hole following a 36-hole title match against Corbin Mills at Bandon Dunes Resort.

Ernst was tabbed as an All-American again in 2012, achieving honorable mention status after earning the fourth victory of his collegiate career at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. That year, he represented the United State at the Palmer Cup as well.

His four career victories and 71.80 stroke average rank in the top 10 on UNLV’s all-time charts. Additionally, Ernst won the Earl E. Wilson Award on two occasions as the program’s top player and was named to the Mountain West 25th Season Team earlier this year.

Ernst and his wife, Laney, have two daughters: Daughtry and Decker. His hiring is pending a standard background check.


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Ken MacLeod

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