One can sympathize with Hermantown (Minn.) High assistant golf coach Kyle Ernst for wanting to go home and drink a cold one after his team fell short of a state title by a single, heartbreaking stroke. Ernst's problem is that he insisted on bringing his team along for the ride and allowing them to partake in adult beverages as well.
As reported by a variety of Minnesota news sources, including the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Duluth ABC affiliate WDIO and NorthlandNewsCenter.com, Ernst was arrested after he hosted a beer and wine cooler party at a Shakopee hotel hours after his team finished a single stroke behind Detroit Lakes (Minn.) High for the state's Class 2A boys golf title.
According to all the different Minnesota sources, Ernst readily admitted buying alcohol for the minors in his charge in an effort to cheer them up after such a tough loss. The drunk teens were discovered after an employee at a local Cub Foods grocery store tipped off local police that a teenager in their store smelled like alcohol. The unnamed teen then failed a breathlyzer test provided by the police on the spot.
Surveillance camera footage from a nearby gas station showed Ernst buying $62 worth of alcohol, which he then shared with the team he helped lead to the state tournament.
While Hermantown officials have yet to offer an official comment on Ernst's prospective future with the school or program, the two charges of providing alcohol to minors that now face the coach could land him a $3,000 fine and up to a year in prison.
Should he face a year in prison, Ernst would have an awful lot of time to ponder over one bad decision grounded in a simple effort to cheer up some disappointed teens.
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