Jesse Bernhardt has been a Major League Lacrosse champion, a World Championships runner-up and a coach and player at the NCAA Final Four. He now brings that winning experience to the Princeton men’s lacrosse coaching staff.
Bernhardt, who most recently has helped the Rutgers program back into the national spotlight while coaching defense and face-offs, will become the Princeton defensive coordinator under head coach Matt Madalon.
“I’m really excited for the opportunity to part of Princeton lacrosse, ” Bernhardt said. “I want to thank Matt and Mollie [Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux] for the opportunity to be at an instituation such as this one. I’m looking forward to getting started and meeting the guys and helping to bring stability to the program.”
A Maryland graduate and current defenseman of the Chesapeake Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse, Bernhardt has spent the last two years on the staff at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights defense was ranked 48th in Division I the year before Bernhardt arrived and since has improved to 35th in 2015 and 29th this past season, at 9.88 goals against per game.
Rutgers went 11-5 in 2016, with a pair of wins over Johns Hopkins and a spot in the Big Ten championship game. The Scarlet Knights were ranked 16th in the final poll of the year.
“It’s with great pride that we get to introduce Coach Bernhardt to the family,” Madalon said. “Having his presence on the defensive side of the ball will make an immediate impact on the program and the guys. We’re excited about his philosophies on that side of the ball and the impact he is going to make for us.”
Bernhardt was a two-time All-America, including a first-team selection as a senior, as well as a two-time Tewaaraton Trophy nominee, USILA Scholar All-America and first-team All-ACC selection before graduating in 2013. As a junior he helped Maryland to the NCAA final.
He began his college coaching career with his alma mater in 2014, when he helped the Terrapins reach the Final Four.
Bernhardt, whose brother Jared was recently named the Most Outstanding Player at the U-19 World Championships, won an MLL title with the Bayhawks in 2013 and was an MLL all-star the following year.