He is known for playing Lieutenant Ayala in Star Trek: Voyager, but Tarik Ergin has a fascinating life outside of the famous television series! How did this lacrosse player-turned-actor balance these two careers, and what is he doing these days?
Born June 7, 1961 in Hingham, Massachusetts, Tarik Ergin is of Turkish descent. He began playing lacrosse in fifth grade, and the sport has remained a fixture his entire life. When he attended Kingswood-Oxford, a college preparatory school in Connecticut, he joined the lacrosse team. Upon graduating, he went on to study history at Cornell University, where he started pursuing lacrosse more seriously. Ergin received All-American accolades for his strong performances as a midfielder with Cornell’s lacrosse team and eventually became interested in acting.
Ergin’s first acting job was playing Donald in the movie Improper Conduct. Next, he snagged work in the Star Trek franchise! In Generations, he played a medical technician in a background role. This appearance would foreshadow the arc of his Star Trek career, as he would become associated with several background characters in Voyager, Enterprise, and the video game Star Trek: Borg. In all, he portrayed ten unique characters–crewmen, aliens, and even a robot called “Satan’s Robot.”
Star Trek Voyager
Although he played a number of characters in the Star Trek franchise, fans recognize Tarik Ergin primarily for the role of Lieutenant Ayala in Star Trek: Voyager. Ayala worked in a number of divisions aboard the Voyager including engineering, operations, and security. The lieutenant can be seen accompanying the main members of the Voyager’s crew on many missions.
Ergin was in 124 episodes of STV–more than some of the credited stars of the show! Despite being in every season of the acclaimed series, he only had spoken roles in four of the episodes in which he appeared.
Did he have any roles after Star Trek Voyager?
While performing on Star Trek, also worked as a dog trainer in Los Angeles at a place called Doggy Do-Right. He continued acting as well, making appearances in the movie Indecent Behavior II and two episodes of Red Shoe Diaries.
Reflecting on his time on Star Trek, Ergin has said he enjoyed that acting allowed him the freedom to have fun at work. After the show ended, Ergin quit acting and returned his attention to lacrosse.
What is Tarik Ergin doing now?
These days, Ergin devotes most of his time to his duties as a lacrosse coach! Since 2017, he has worked as Director of Coaching with the LA Mavericks, a lacrosse program that works with student athletes at all levels. He has also been the head coach of Oak Park High School’s lacrosse team for the past eighteen years. During his coaching tenure with Oak Park, Ergin has led the team to impressive achievements including winning a number of league championships. In addition, he coached several teams with the West Coast Starz, the premiere national lacrosse club.
As a result of his hard work and talent, Ergin was named US Lacrosse Coach of the Year twice! He was also inducted into the Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2016.
Clearly, Tarik Ergin is a versatile talent whose life, as he describes it, has been “surreal” in the best possible ways! His love of coaching has touched the lives of countless students. In the same way, his portrayal of Lieutenant Ayala in Star Trek will be remembered by generations of Trekkies to come!