The Nebraska Cornhuskers have officially announced this morning that Ernie Zeigler has been hired as the new assistant coach, replacing the vacancy created by Armon Gates departure to Oregon last month. Zeigler has been an assistant with the Mississippi State Bulldogs since 2015, is a former head coach of the Central Michigan Chippewas, and father of Creighton graduate assistant Trey Zeigler.
Zeigler played at the collegiate level at Schoolcraft College (1984–86), Armstrong Atlantic State University (1986–87), and Northwood University (1987–88). He has extensive assistant coach experience at the Power-Six level featuring stops at Kansas State (1999-2000), Pittsburgh (2001-2003), UCLA (2003-2006), and Miss. St. (2015-2022). He also coached as an assistant with Bowling Green (2000-2001) and Detroit Mercy (2013-2015).
While head coach of the Chippewas, Zeigler finished with a 75-111 overall record and 43-53 record in Mid-American Conference play. He tied for first in the West in 2008-2009 and won the West Division in 2009-2010, the latter being the only winning season in conference play at 9-7 and his only .500 finish in the overall record while never posting a winning record during his tenure in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
He began his coaching career at the prep levels from 1990-96 with the Detroit Cody program. The Cody program notched a top 10 ranking in the state of Michigan during four of his six seasons. The team reached the state quarterfinals in 1992 and won the Detroit Public School League West Division championship in 1993.
Zeigler also led Team Detroit in the AAU ranks from 1992-97. He guided all six squads to the Michigan AAU Final Four, and the 1994 team reached the national AAU quarterfinals. In 1995 and 1997, Team Detroit advanced to the Adidas Big Time Tournament quarterfinals.
Zeigler made the move overseas where he gained three seasons of head coaching experience from 1997-99. He led the Henan Wildcats from 1996-97 and was tabbed the Chinese National Basketball Alliance International Coach of the Year in 1997. The Wildcats came away with the franchise’s first winning season and first playoff berth in club history.
Then, Zeigler guided Al-Hilal Sports Club to the Arab Championship Games Final Four and the Saudi Arabian Basketball Federation Playoffs in 1998 coupled with the championship of the Saudi Arabian Basketball Federation Playoffs in 1999.
Zeigler is credited with recruiting and developing ESPN Top 100 player Abdul Ado who averaged 6.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks in four seasons with the Bulldogs. He is also credited as recruiting former Michigan State guard Rocket Watts. Watts left the southern MSU after one season for Oakland University after averaging just 4.4 points per game with the Bulldogs last season.
This story has been updated since its original publishing to reflect the announcement by the University of Nebraska Athletic Department of Zeigler’s hiring.