Sophomore Ervin switches from football to basketball to fulfill coaching dream


Junior forward Austin Ervin poses for a portrait on Oct. 19 at McGuirk Arena.

Sophomore Austin Ervin is attempting to do something few college athletes succeed in — switching sports.

Coming out of St. Johns High School, Ervin was recruited by Central Michigan to play football. He decided to commit to the 2015 class as a tight end.

By pledging to play football, Ervin had to give up his passion — basketball.

After three seasons on the CMU football team, Ervin decided this year to get back on the hardwood and join the men’s basketball team.

“I feel comfortable and want to be on a basketball court,” Ervin said. “It’s where I want to spend the rest of my life.”

Ervin doesn’t plan to play basketball for the rest of his career. Instead, his dream is to coach at the collegiate level.

“My plan was to get back in it somehow,” Ervin said. “After two years, I just figured it was time. It ended up being the best decision I’ve ever made. I love it”

As a member of the CMU football team, Ervin took a redshirt in 2015 and played two games as a backup tight end in 2016.

In high school, he caught 34 career passes for 499 yards and four touchdowns. He earned Associated Press Division III All-State special mention in 2014. On the basketball court, Ervin was a two-time captain and averaged a double-double in his senior season.

CMU men’s basketball head coach Keno Davis heard nothing but great things from the football staff and decided to give Ervin a shot as a member of the basketball team.

The 6-foot-4, 245-pound sophomore has given the Chippewas an inside presence on the court in practice and in games.

“We’re always trying to develop our team and he brings a physical presence,” Davis said. “He’s making (forwards) Innocent Nwoko and Luke Meyer better by being able to beat up on them a little bit in practice.”

Being such a physical presence, the biggest change for Ervin is dealing with his weight. While playing football, he attempted to gain and maintain weight. Now, he has been working to lose weight. Even though it isn’t easy, he said he is getting to where he needs to be.

Despite the struggles of switching from football to basketball, Ervin is enjoying his time back on the basketball court.

“There was a lot of great memories with football,” Ervin said. “I loved the guys, loved the travel, loved the college atmosphere. I don’t regret my last two years, but I’m happy with where I am now.”

Ervin feels closer with the basketball team than he ever did with the football team, he said. Due to his dream of coaching, he continuously follows assistant coaches Kevin Gamble, Kyle Gerdeman and Jeff Smith, along with Davis.

“They have helped me a lot and know what they are taking about,” Ervin said. “I’ve always wanted to coach, so it’s great to learn from some of the best.”

In his sixth season as the coach of the Chippewas, Davis is excited about Ervin’s love for the game.

“It’s great having him on the team,” Davis said.