In November 2010, R. Ron Sertz was named as the first Executive Director
of the Erie Sports Commission, and it is the latest in a long line of high-level
positions that he has held in a distinguished career in Erie sports.
Sertz is the Owner and President of Classic Promotions, and has been
instrumental in the formation, direction and guidance of many of the major sporting
organizations and events in the Erie tri-state region.
Recently (August 2010 - March, 2011) he also 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, an NBA D-League franchise in Erie.
The Erie Times-News sports department, in a recent special feature, “set out to gauge the most effective and powerful” people in the region – the individuals with the most wide-ranging influence in sports. Ron Sertz was selected as Erie’s top power broker and most influential person in Erie area sports. He’s been involved in the Erie sport scene for over four decades as an athlete, coach, author, athletic administrator, and entrepreneur.
Sertz was also honored as an Erie “Legend” in 2005 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 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. Since 2000, 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 has been married for more than forty years to his wife Emily (Fatica), and they have three daughters: Danielle, a theatrical director and instructor in Vermont; Andrea, an executive producer in New York, and Michelle, an executive with the world-famous Syracuse Stage. His son, Michael, is a golf professional in Myrtle Beach, SC.
Sertz was also nationally recognized as the founder and director of The McDonald’s Classic, which has been called “the best four-team tournament in the country” by HoopsUSA.
However, his influence in Erie area sports goes far beyond the Sports Commission, BayHawks, Otters and the Classic.
Sertz is still 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 with a Master's Degree in English from Gannon University, was also renowned as a very successful coach in the cross country, basketball, and track programs, and was chosen in December, 1999, by the Erie Times-News 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 as a basketball coach 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 and the Erie Philharmonic, and the Leadership Committee of the Highmark Caring Place.