Ron Sertz

Ron Sertz

In May 2013, R. Ron Sertz was named as the first Executive Director of the Erie Sports Commission, the latest in a long line of high-level positions that he has held in a distinguished career in Erie sports. He had previously worked as a consultant to study the concept of a sports commission for VisitErie since 2010.

In several short years, Sertz guided the Erie Sports Commission from merely a concept to a designation as the National Sports Commission of the Year in both 2014 and 2016 by Sports ETA, formerly the National Association of Sports Commissions. Sertz was also accorded the honor of being selected as the NASC National Sports Tourism Executive of the Year in April 2016, and was inducted into the Erie Metropolitan Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in June 2017.

Under the leadership of Sertz, the ESC grew from hosting nine sporting events in 2012 to 57 events in 2017, which accounted for more than $14 million in economic impact for the Erie region that year. Sertz stepped down from his role in July 2018, when he assumed the role of Executive Consultant.

Additionally, Sertz served as the Chairman of PA Sports from 2016 to 2019. He was recognized in 2019 by the Erie Times-News as the winner of the Legacy Award. The award is presented as part of the Commitment to Erie awards to an individual who has helped to shape and improve the Erie community through years of involvement in public life.

Sertz, the Owner and President of Classic Promotions, has been instrumental over the years in the formation, direction and guidance of many of the major sporting organizations and events in the Erie region.

In 2010-11, he held the position of Executive Director of the NCAA Local Operating Committee hosting the 2011 NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Championship, the Frozen Four.

He also served as the founding Team President of the Erie BayHawks, the NBA G-League franchise in Erie. He’s been involved in the Erie sports scene for over five decades as an athlete, coach, author, athletic administrator, and entrepreneur.

Sertz served as the President of EHC Ltd., the ownership group of the Erie Otters Hockey Team of the Ontario Hockey League. An owner and the Otters’ Director of Operations from 1996 until 2008, he was instrumental in developing the Otters into one of the finest franchises in the OHL. From 2000 to 2002, the team won three Midwest Division titles, grabbed the regular season title in 2001, and in 2002 won the championship of the Ontario Hockey League — unquestionably comprised of the best junior hockey players in the entire world. Most impressively, under Sertz’s reign the team increased fan support in dramatic fashion by providing an entertaining, family-oriented atmosphere of top-level hockey action.

Sertz was honored in 2005 as an Erie “Legend” in the inaugural selections conducted by the Boys and Girls Club for Best Performance in a Leading Role in Sports. In 2006 he was honored again with another “Legend” award, becoming the first and only two-time recipient of the honor.

Sertz also spent 25 years as the Director of The McDonald’s Classic, which was called “the best four-team tournament in the country” by HoopsUSA.

His influence in Erie area sports, however, goes far beyond his experience with the Erie Sports Commission, BayHawks, Otters and the McDonalds Classic.

Sertz is remembered by many in the Erie community for his many years of achievement at Cathedral Prep as a coach and athletic director. He achieved the reputation as the primary force behind Prep’s movement into national caliber competition in the athletic program. His high profile leadership brought national prominence to the school through the success and achievements of all sports in the program, and he was elected to the Cathedral Prep Athletic Hall of Fame in March of 2003.

Sertz, a graduate of John Carroll University who also holds a Master’s Degree in English from Gannon University, was renowned as a very successful cross country, basketball, and track coach, and was chosen by the Erie Times-News in December of1999 as one of the century’s best coaches. His first coaching stint in basketball at Sacred Heart produced a Pennsylvania State Championship in 1971, and he also compiled an enviable 88-5 record in basketball at Prep from 1971-77. His outstanding cross country teams at Prep compiled a ten-year record of 111 wins and only 4 losses (.965) while winning ten League and eight PIAA District Ten AAA Championships. He also developed dozens of District Champions and All-State performers in the track program.

Sertz has served in the leadership group of many organizations, including the Academy of Legends with the Boys and Girls Club, the OHL Board of Governors, the Board of Directors of the YMCA of Greater Erie and the Erie Philharmonic, and the Leadership Committee of the Highmark Caring Place.

Sertz has been married for more than forty years to his wife Emily (Fatica), and they have three daughters and a son.

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