Lincoln-Way West coach Dave Ernst  works his team through practice in early August. Ernst stepped down from his post as head of the program this weekend after eight seasons at the helm.
Lincoln-Way West coach Dave Ernst works his team through practice in early August. Ernst stepped down from his post as head of the program this weekend after eight seasons at the helm. — Geoff Stellfox for Shaw Media

Lincoln-Way West coach Dave Ernst confirmed on Monday that he has stepped down from his post at head coach of the Lincoln-Way West football program after eight years at the helm.

Ernst guided the Warriors to a 5-5 record in 2019 as his Warriors bowed out of the Class 7A playoffs in the opening round with a last-second loss to Chicago Phillips. In those eight seasons, Ernst posted an overall record of 65-27.

Ernst's current plan is to step down into an assistant's role with Lincoln-Way West.

"I'm 55, I've coached a long-time, I'm not burnt or tired out, I'll probably coach somewhere until I die," Ernst said. "I think I could be a better coach on the field, not being a head coach."

"I felt like this senior class, when they graduated it was a good group of kids to going out with. I just felt like the time was right."

Ernst's teams qualified for the playoffs in all eight seasons that he led the program, the highlight being a Class 5A championship game appearance in 2015 where the Warriors dropped the title game, 42-21, to Nazareth.

Ernst's teams also reached the quarterfinals in 2012, 2013 and 2017.

Ernst is a long-time veteran of the coaching ranks, serving as an assistant under Hall of Fame coach Matt Senffner at Providence from 1989 to 2000.

Later, Ernst worked as an offensive coordinator at both Lincoln-Way Central and Lincoln-Way West, taking the head coaching position with the Warriors. He replaced Mark VanderKooi, who left the school to take his current position as athletic director at Lincoln-Way East.

Lincoln-Way West will begin the process of replacing Ernst immediately.