Meet Ned Herter ’73, Mathematics and Lacrosse

Ned Herter ’73 first came to Middlesex as a student in 1969; after graduating in 1973, Ned earned a B.A. in math and classics at Bowdoin College, returning to Middlesex in 1979 to teach math. In the years since, Ned has served at various times as a head of house, head football coach, and dean of students. Still assisting with the football program, he is the longtime head coach of Middlesex’s highly successful boys’ varsity lacrosse team. In 2010, he was appointed the holder of the Angus C. Littlejohn, Jr. ’69 Chair. Ned and Nancy’s three children are all Middlesex graduates: Emily ’97, Ben ’99, and Aaron ’02

First arriving at Middlesex as a student in 1969 and a faculty member since 1979, you have been a part of the School for… a really long time.  Undoubtably, you’ve seen a lot change.  What has stayed the same?

When you put the years in front of me and I do a little math, I’m astounded it’s been 45 years since I arrived on campus.  Of course MX was all boys and had far fewer students back then. Many more buildings and the turf field are on campus now, there have been numerous renovations, and so on and so on. However, what has stayed the same is the heart of the school.  That is a product of all the good people that work here and go to school here.  I have been blessed to work with an awesome group of faculty and staff and to be associated with so many great students, athletes, and their families.  That piece has remained there same, and on alumni weekends you can witness the reunion of all these special relationships.  Plain and simple, Middlesex’s magic is in its people: the past, the present, those who just got their accepts, and all the folks who work at the school.  We are lucky to be a part of it.

You’ve been in many roles at Middlesex over the years:  head of house, dean of students, math teacher, head football coach, and head lacrosse coach.  What do you like best about working with kids?  

I think having a chance on an almost daily basis to witness the “ah-ha” moments in the classroom, or on an athletic field, or in a casual conversation with young people is very rewarding. Frankly, when you work with young people, I find that I have almost as many “ah-ha ” moments as anyone else.  

You’re well-known on campus for your warm smile and your signature phrase: “It’s always a great day to play the game.”  What’s the story behind that phrase? 

I must admit that that phrase might have come from Nick Kondon ‘80, with whom I coached for eighteen years.  Nick and I used to yell that at each other coming into the locker room, going onto the field, and even when I go into his dentist office today.  We are lucky to be doing what we do, where we are doing it, and with whom we are doing it.  The phrase can be applied to anything but its roots were on the lacrosse field.

We usually see Ned Herter walking around with your shirt pocket stuffed with pens, pencils, a calculator, your weekly schedule, and – of course – a pocket protector.  What do you enjoy about math?  

It makes sense!! Not everything in the world makes sense, so math is a refuge from the craziness.  It’s not always easy… but it makes sense.  Apologies to my English teacher colleagues, but interpretations of poetry don’t always make sense… at least to me.

Your lacrosse program has seen incredible success over the last twenty years, including double-digit ISL championships, but every year is a new team.  What are some of your goals going into each lacrosse season?

Every team has the challenge of being the best they can be individually but more importantly, the best team they can be, not a group of skilled individuals but one skilled team that works well together, respects each other, and has fun together.  I have been blessed with terrific players and terrific assistant coaches who pass the message down to new players in the program.  I have been lucky to be a part of a positive tradition.