COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland men’s lacrosse head coach John Tillman has announced the hiring of Jesse Bernhardt as assistant coach. Bernhardt will work primarily with the defense.
“We are thrilled to have Jesse return to the Maryland men’s lacrosse program,” Tillman said. “Jesse has had success in our system as both a player and a coach. He will be a valuable asset to our program as he remains one of the best players in the world at his position. I am confident he will be an excellent mentor and role model for our student-athletes and we are fortunate to have him.”
A 2013 graduate of the University of Maryland, Bernhardt has quickly ascended the coaching ranks and built a reputation as one of the brightest young defensive minds in college lacrosse.
Bernhardt has been a Major League Lacrosse champion, a World Championships runner-up and a coach and player at the NCAA Final Four.
“I cannot express how grateful I am for Coach Tillman to give me an opportunity to come ‘home,’” Bernhardt said. “I appreciate the trust he has shown in asking me to return to the University of Maryland. It is an honor to represent and be entrusted with the privilege of coaching there again. As an ex-Terp player and coach, it is truly a dream come true and I can’t wait to begin the process. I also want to thank Matt Madalon, the staff and, most importantly, the players for a tremendous opportunity to work with them at a place like Princeton. They are in great hands moving forward.”
Bernhardt comes to Maryland after spending one season as defensive coordinator at Princeton, where he helped produce a first-team All-Ivy League goalie, a first-team All-Ivy League defenseman and two freshmen defenders who were named freshmen All-Americas by College Crosse.
Prior to Princeton, he spent two years as an assistant coach at Rutgers, helping the program into the national spotlight while coaching defense and face-offs. 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 in 2016, 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.
Bernhardt began his college coaching career in 2014 as Maryland’s volunteer assistant coach, helping the Terrapins reach the NCAA Final Four.
As a player, Bernhardt has enjoyed extraordinary success at the collegiate and professional levels. Playing for Maryland, Bernhardt was a two-time captain and two-time USILA All-American, in addition to being named a USILA Scholar All-American. He was the ACC Co-Defensive Player of the Year as a junior in 2012.
Bernhardt is currently a defenseman for the Chesapeake Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse. He won a Major League Lacrosse Championship with the Bayhawks in 2013 and has earned multiple MLL All-Star nods.
Bernhardt also has experience at the international level, helping Team USA to a runner-up finish at the 2014 World Lacrosse Championship. He is currently a member of the training team leading into the 2018 World Lacrosse Championship.
Bernhardt’s older brother, Jake, played at Maryland from 2009-13, while his younger brother, Jared, is currently on the Maryland roster.