Ernie Chatman

Inducted 2017

Ernie Chatman was inducted into the Florida High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017 after an illustrious career spent coaching five sports over five decades.

Although born in Washington D.C., Coach Chatman was raised in the Hernando County school system and graduated from Hernando High School in 1967. After college, Chatman returned to Hernando County and eventually Hernando High School, where he racked up a 295-122 record in baseball (1975-83, 87, 90-93) and a 136-48 mark in softball (1997-2002). He also coached the cross country team there for 27 years, winning the 1997 FHSAA State Championship and finishing in the Top-10 on 16 different occasions.

In total, the St. Leo University and University of South Florida graduate totaled one state championship, four state runner-ups, five Final Four appearances, 13 regional titles, 20 district crowns and 18 conference championships. The 19-time St. Petersburg Times Coach of the Year was named the Tampa Tribune’s “Baseball Coach of the Decade” (1975-85), while also taking home Florida Coach of the Year honors from the Florida Athletic Coaches Association in 1993 and 1997.

The Hernando High School Hall of Fame member was a longtime contributor to the FACA, including a term as president during the 2014-15 year. Prior to being inducted into the FACA Hall of Fame in 2004 and receiving the key to the city of Brooksville that same year, Chatman was presented with the FACA Lifetime Membership Award in 2001. He also served Hernando High School for 11 years as its Athletic Director.

Chatman went 24-plus years without missing a day of running, and in that time period ran, over 100 marathons including at least one in every state in the nation, inspiring student-athletes toward a harder and more consistent work ethic. As a result, more than 50 student-athletes under Chatman received athletic scholarships collegiately, including five who went on to play professionally.

Away from high school athletics, Chatman spent three-plus decades on the Hernando Youth League Board of Directors. The league grew from one sport to nine different leagues and 1,600 athletes during Chatman’s tenure on the Board.

Ernie’s biggest joy in life, and what he considered his greatest accomplishment, was his family: his wife of 43 years Linda, his three children Erin, Beth, and Bret, and his 6 grandchildren, all whom referred to him as “Big E."