Ernie Pantusso
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Ernie Pantusso


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About Him

Living… in Boston. After dropping out of high school and joining the Navy, Coach spent some time playing minor league baseball. Later he was a third-base coach (thus his nickname) for the Boston Red Sox while a young reliever named Sam “Mayday” Malone was throwing fastballs and drinking highballs. Once Sam’s career crumbled due to his alcoholism, he bought a bar and brought Coach with him.

Profession… bartender at Cheers. Although he’s a slow and forgetful barkeep, Coach loves to serve his customers and enjoys the job, regardless of wage. He has no other ambitions career-wise and seems fully comfortable with his role behind the bar. The patrons appreciate Coach’s warm and caring personality and he often lends an open ear to his customers’ troubles, acting as a resident sounding board.

Interests... taking care of his daughter. Coach’s biggest headache comes from making sure his daughter Lisa is happy and safe. He’s concerned when she gets engaged to Roy, an insensitive and abusive moocher. This makes Coach realize her lack of self-worth. He invests time and effort in making sure she values herself and recognizes her beauty. Apart from family, Coach also enjoys following sports in his spare time, as well as playing gin rummy.

Relationship Status... widower. Coach was married to Angela before he started working at Cheers. They had one daughter, Lisa, whom he still cares for. The biggest argument Coach and his wife ever had was over naming their daughter. Angela insisted on Lisa, while he wanted to stick with the original name – Baby Girl Pantusso. Coach hasn’t pursued any serious romance since his loss, instead preferring to follow the ongoing ups and downs of Sam and Diane, the smart but snooty waitress.

Challenge… not selling himself too short. In his words, “I'm not a rich man, I'm not a young man, I'm not a handsome man, I'm not a tall man, I'm not a strong man, I'm not a talented man, I'm not a well-traveled man, I'm not a smart man, I'm not a milk man, I'm not a fat man, I'm not a gingerbread man, I'm not a...” But Coach is a very good man, and he deserves as much success and happiness as anyone else – or more.

Personality... grounded. You can count on Coach to meet you at your level. He’s neither worldly nor well-read, but he has emotional intelligence. He toiled for years in the minor leagues, and there’s a humble modesty to his demeanor. He’s always willing to listen, even if he absurdly misinterprets what’s being said. He doesn’t want to offend anyone and tries to make Cheers a comfortable, welcoming environment. He’s uniformly positive. Yes, Coach may forget what drink you ordered, but he’s still the perfect bartender.

Ernie Pantusso's popularity ranking on CharacTour is #3906 out of 5,600+ characters. See our top-ranked characters and read their profiles.

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