Class of 2004

Oak Park

Ernie Thompson attended Hyde Park High School in Chicago and graduate in 1959. He played football, baseball and track while at Hyde Park, but Hyde Park did not have wrestling. He went on to play football at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and graduated in 1963. He was an All-Conference defensive back while at NIU and a four-year letter winner. He also ran track while at NIU, he earned his Bachelor’s Degree from NIU and received his Masters of Science in Physical Education from the University of Illinois in 1973 and his administrative certification from Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1993.

Ernie began his teaching and coaching career in 1963 at Hyde Park in Chicago. He served as assistant football and head baseball coach. When Hyde Park started the wrestling program in 1965, Ernie assumed the position of assistant wrestling coach. In 1967, he took over the head coaching position at Dunbar High School in Chicago was an assistant on the football staff. From 1968 to 1971 and then again from 1984 to 1988 he was the head football coach. He was also the head Cross-Country Coach at Dunbar from 1971-72.

Ernie served as head wrestling coach at Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights from 1983 through 1988. In 1988 he was named the Head Wrestling Coach at Steinmetz High School in Chicago. He served in that capacity until 1996. He was also an assistant football coach during that time and was the Head Track Coach from 1994 to 1999. During his career Ernie has held many volunteer coaching positions with the city of Chicago. He was the Head Coach of the Prairie State Games in 1990 and 1991. In 1978, Ernie was selected as Chicago Public League Coach of the Year.

During his coaching career at Hyde Park, Dundar, Bloom Township, and Steinmetz High School, Ernie has compiled a 360-90 won-loss record. He has coached thrity-nine state qualifiers, twelve state place winners and Two State Champions. His first state place winner was Leonar Tero, Mr. T of television and movie fame and he also coached his son, Ken to two state titles. He has also coached two world class wrestlers.

Ernie worked with the Chicago Public Schools for thirty-eight years, retiring in 2001. During his teaching tenure he has served as Physical Education instructor, Drivers Education teacher, Drivers Education Director, Co-Department Chairperson, and the Wrestling Coordinator for Chicago Public Schools. He has also worked as a lecture at Wright College.

Ernie is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Oak Park YMCA and also serves a volunteer wrestling coach and has been a Board Member of the Beat the Street program. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and the Sixth Grace Presbyterian Church and serves and an elder and a choir member.

<< Back to Hall of Fame