BostonLax.net presents our featured “Coaching Legends” series. We will continue to feature the Bay State’s top coaches, past and present, and highlight the positive impacts, which they have had on our game, their school communities and their players.
By Ryan Kilian @masspreps
CONCORD – With the 2017-2018 school year underway, this will be the first year since 1980 that Hall of Fame head coach and distinguished educator, Ned Herter, will not be manning the sidelines and leading in the classroom, at the Middlesex School in Concord, Mass.
Herter, a Middlesex graduate in 1973, math teacher since 1979, and varsity boys’ lacrosse coach for the past 38 years, retired at the end of last year, concluding a storybook career for a man who is respected and admired by the entire lacrosse community.
“My first reflection is that I am going to miss the kids,” Herter told Boston Lax after his final home game. “I have been extremely lucky, the past 38 years, to coach in an athletic program and at a school who gave me the freedom to work with these great kids.”
As the final horn sounded, and the clock read 0:00 the feelings of sadness, pride and excitement all permeated through the crowd at Herter Field on the Middlesex campus. Coach Herter had coached his final home game, a 13-5, come-from-behind win over rival Governor’s Academy.
“Thirty-Eight years is hard to reflect on, as every team is so different and every year is so unique,” Herter explained. “It is just a great group of kids to finish out with. Our record (9-6) may not have been as good, as it has been in years past, but I would go to battle with this group of kids any day of the week.”
Herter Field was packed with members of the Middlesex School community, past and present, along with the family and friends of Coach Herter, all who graced the sidelines to pay a final home-game tribute to their beloved coach and mentor.
Coach Herter’s motto, “It is a great day to play the game!,” was printed on the back of the team’s warm-up t-shirts for the game. The quote was especially applicable on that beautiful Spring day in May.
At the end of the 2017 school year, Herter was the selected as the commencement speaker at the Class of 2017 graduation ceremony and he was also awarded the Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., ’20 Distinguished Alumni Award during Middlesex School’s Alumni Weekend on June 10th.
Herter, a long time Carlisle, Mass. resident, husband, father of three and grandfather of seven was also named the Independent School League’s (ISL) US Lacrosse Coach of the Year for 2017 and he was a US Lacrosse Gerald J. Carroll, JR. Award Nominee.
FINAL HOME WIN/GAME GALLERY:
(5/24/17) photos by Ryan Kilian for Boston Lax
LEGACY: Herter retired in 2017 with an impeccable resume, which is prominently featured at the top of the Massachusetts and New England high school lacrosse coaching hierarchy.
(Herter speaking at the Middlesex School 2017 commencement – credit – Tony Rinaldo)
’80 -’87 Assistant Varsity Coach (8 years)
– 77-28 record
– 2 ISL Championships
’88 -’17 Varsity Head Coach (29 years)
– 337-71 record
– 12 ISL Championships
– 2 Undefeated seasons
– 8 One-loss seasons
– 5-time ISL Coach of the Year – 1995, 1999, 2009, 2012, 2017
– 2003 Inducted into New England Lacrosse Hall of Fame
– 2004 Ron Pozzo Sportsmanship Award – presented by the Eastern Massachusetts Lacrosse Officials
– 2015 Inducted into Eastern Massachusetts Lacrosse Hall of Fame
(Plaque presented to Herter at his retirement ceremony – credit – James Cohane)
Combined 38 years in program – Assistant and Head Lacrosse Coach
– 414-99 overall record (81% winning percentage)
– 14 ISL Championships
– Coached 18 high school All Americans
Coach Herter has handed the lacrosse program over to his two long-time assistants, Doug Worthen ’96 and Geoff Cohane ’96. Both Worthen and Cohane played for Coach Herter when they were students at Middlesex. Their teams went undefeated in 1995 and 1996, and they were team captains as seniors.
“I know that I am leaving the program in good hands”, said Coach Herter.
BEYOND THE FIELD: A common message that is frequently conveyed by alumni, players, coaches, and anyone you talk to regarding Herter, is that Herter’s impact transcends the lacrosse field.
“Kids want to win for him,” new Middlesex Head Coach Doug Worthen ’96 said of his mentor. “He has a genuine feel and love for the kids. When student’s walk into his classroom he drops everything for them. He has developed so many amazing connections with his students and fellow staff members over the years. Along with being such a special coach, he is also a special man. He makes people feel valued and raises the level of an individual’s self worth.”
Former Assistant Coach, Nick Kondon ’80 said, “Ned was the perfect combination of coach, educator and friend. Although fiercely competitive he never lost sight of our program’s core values of hard work, fundamentals, sportsmanship and respect for opponents and one another. His guidance and friendship have been invaluable to so many young men. He left us all with a true love for the game.”
“Playing lacrosse for Coach Herter was the best experience I had during my athletic career, and I know that is true for many boys who played for Coach Herter of the years,” said Cohane.
2015 All American and current Boston University attackman James Burr ’15 echoed these thoughts: “Coach Herter is a legend. When I was a student, walking out to practice each day was the highlight of my day.”
(l-r: Assistant Coach Geoff Cohane ’96, former Assistant Coach Nick Kondon ’80, Coach Ned Herter ‘73, and Head Coach Doug Worthen ’96 at the dinner honoring Coach Herter on 09/24 in Concord – credit – James Cohane)
2016 All-American and current John’s Hopkins defender Jack Lyne ’16 echoed those thoughts and spoke of the passion Herter exhibited for the game.
“I think the aspect I remember most clearly about Coach Herter was his enthusiasm for the game of lacrosse, which he showed us every single day.”
(Jack Lyne ’16 playing in the Boston Lax All-American game. – Ryan Kilian)
“The way he has led and the way he coached set the bar high for me and all the other ISL coaches,” former Governor’s coach Peter Bidstrup said (pictured with Herter, below) after Herter’s final home game in May.
The former Gov’s head coach referred to Herter as a mentor and friend and further added,
“He has positively influenced hundreds and thousands of Middlesex school students over the years. It is the lessons that those students have taken from him and brought back to their community and to their family, that make him so special.”
(Retired Coaching legends Peter Bidstrup (l) and Ned Herter (r). – Ryan Kilian)
ALUMNI GAME & EVENT: On September 24, 2017 over 50 Middlesex School alumni and parents gathered for the school’s first alumni lacrosse game (participants pictured below). After the event, that evening, over 150 people attended a banquet at Nashawtuc Country Club in Concord to honor Coach Herter and his legendary career. The event and retirement dinner were fitting tributes to a man who impacted so many lives, on and off the lacrosse field.
(2017 Middlesex School alumni game – credit Tony Rinaldo)
The following video, by DIFI video, also does an amazing job at capturing the legacy of man who will impact the Middlesex School and high school lacrosse community for years to come.