Ron Erhardt was born February 27th, 1931, in Mandan, North Dakota. He graduated from Jamestown College in 1953 and then spent two years serving in the military before leaving and getting hired as an assistant football coach for Williston High School. The following year he became head coach at St Mary’s in New England, North Dakota, where he started his winning reputation.
In three years there he compiled a mark of 25-3-1. He then moved to Bishop Ryan High School in Minot and compiled a mark of 20-6-1. His success coaching at these schools helped him secure a job as an assistant coach at NDSU in 1963, and he became head coach in 1966, beginning a seven-year stretch that boasted a record of 61-7-1. In 1970, he was awarded the Blue Key National Honor Society's Distinguished Educator award for his dedication to the University.
He went on to become an offensive backfield coach for the New England Patriots in 1973 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 1977. Two years later he landed the position of head coach, which proved to be rocky for him. The Patriots missed the playoff in 1979 and 1980, with 19 wins and 13 losses those two years. He was officially dismissed after a 2 and 14 record in 1981. From there he went on to spend nine years as the team’s offensive coordinator and one as the assistant head coach.
In 1992, Erhardt switched teams, becoming the offensive coordinator for the Steelers in 1992. There he helped them reach the Super Bowl in 1996. However, his offense philosophy conflicted with that of head coach Bill Cowher. This disagreement led to Erhardt’s resignation. He then became the offensive coordinator for the New York Jets, but retired a year later.
A former Giants quarterback praised Erhardt’s offensive systems, saying it’s “still being used, and works as successfully as ever.” Off the field, he was known for being easy going and laughing with players. And it was on this date in 2012 that Ron Erhardt died at age 81.
Dakota Datebook written by Lucid Thomas