Ernie "Coach" Pantusso was the old, sweet, assistant bartender on "Cheers
". He was played by Nicholas Colasanto
Coach was the comic relief. He never seemed to understand the meaning of words or jokes, but he always said it in a lovable way. He had this power that made the viewers enjoy watching him, and enjoy his skill in diffusing tense situations.
Coach was the old assistant pitching coach of Boston Red Sox when Sam Malone was pitching for them. The two of them became friends and when Sam bought the Cheers bar, he hired Ernie to bartend with him.
Carla Tortelli was quite friendly with the Coach as well as Sam. She had never seemed to make fun of the Coach. Even when Coach would act dopey over something spoken.
Coach was married at one time but his wife is deceased. His daughter was seen on a show and he said she looked just like her mother. It is known he has a single daughter, Lisa.
His daughter was engaged to a disgusting guy who Ernie didn't like. Ernie didn't want to tell Lisa that he disapproved. Finally Sam told him to "Go get 'em" and Ernie told Lisa what he feels. Lisa ended up breaking up with the guy, and telling her fiancee that she wanted a guy like her father.
The Coach was not the hot young bartender on the show, but he did have a few love interests. The first girl we saw that interested Ernie was a young girl named Nina Bradshaw. She moved into his building and had to spend the day in the bar while the heat was being turned on. Sam was the first to hit on her but Nina kept turning him down. When the Coach tried to ask her out she said she was to busy. Then Coach pulled his old baseball trick and hurt himself by falling down the stairs to "Melville's". Nina ended up taking Ernie home, just as he planned.
A couple years later, Ernie went out with a older woman named Irene Blanchard. Ernie and her fell in love they dated for a time and Ernie proposed marriage to her. She accepted and then she received a call and it turned out that she won the lottery. Irene turned out to have forgotten about the marriage proposal and went off to enjoy the money. When the day of the marriage came around Ernie was ready to be wed but the only word from her was a phone call. Ernie answered the phone and with out listening told her to be happy with the new rich guy in her life. The Coach then left the bar with Sam and Diane Chambers.
Coach died in the break between the third and fourth season. He was replaced by Woody Boyd. Almost two years later, Coach's niece Joyce Pantusso came and visited Sam while she was at college, this was the last of Coach's direct impact on "Cheers", but he will live on in the reruns forever.