College Lacrosse

Preston: Maryland men's lacrosse can't get enough of the Bernhardt family

From left, Jake, Jesse and Jared Bernhardt. Jared Bernhardt is currently on the Maryland men's lacrosse team while Jesse and Jake are former Terps.

COLLEGE PARK — There have been occasions when Maryland defensive coordinator Jesse Bernhardt has wanted to ask his younger brother, Jared — a Terps attackman — a few questions.

And it wasn't about how mom and dad were doing or if the weather back home was sunny in Longwood, Fla.


"It helps a little bit that I am coaching defense and he is on offense," said Jesse, nearly 7 years older then Jared. "There have been a couple of times I would have recommended a shot selection in certain points of the game to help my defense out a little.

"I'm sure he would have understood my sense of frustration," Jesse said, laughing.


But there is little for the older brother to complain about. Jared, a sophomore, has become a force for the No. 1 Terps, helping to replace a senior group that formed one of the best attack units in the game in 2017.

In 11 games this season, Jared has 29 goals and 11 assists. He might have been more impressive, but was making an adjustment from midfield to attack. Now he is at home at the position he played in high school, and Jesse has returned to the Maryland campus.

Jesse was a former Terp who graduated in 2013, but became the new defensive coordinator this past summer. He has partnered with his brother, similar to when they were kids. But Jesse sometimes can be his boss, not a teammate.

"This is a good situation," Jesse said. "When I was in college, he was still growing up, so I missed out on some things like being around for his football or lacrosse games. Now, I get to see him in the locker or film room every day, but it's nothing I take for granted because I remember when I wasn't around."

Jared likes having his brother around as well because he can also use him as an additional resource. They talk about lacrosse, but also any possible off-field or classroom problems Jared might have. Jared said he hasn't heard any rumblings from his teammates about Jesse, who coached at Rutgers and Princeton before returning to Maryland.

Jared lives around campus with his teammates while Jesse resides in Annapolis.

"If I have some questions, lacrosse-wise or off the field, I can check in," Jared said. "Sometimes we just check in to see how each other are doing, but it's nothing serious, just basic stuff. I think the players like having him around because he has been through the program and knows what they have gone through or will go through.

"He is still young enough where they can relate to him."


There is also older brother Jake, a former Maryland midfielder and captain who graduated in 2013. He is now an assistant coach at Vermont and plays professionally with the Ohio Machine.

Imagine what the food fights must have been like at their dinner table.

"There weren't a lot of words thrown around except for arguing over chicken," Jared said, laughing.

But it was Jared who got pushed around on the lacrosse and football fields. He was always playing with older players. Ask Jared or Jesse who is the best Bernhardt lacrosse player and they both agree its Jared.

"There are three boys, and Jake and I close in age," said Jesse, a two-time All-American long-stick midfielder at Maryland. "There were times when things got heated inside and outside of the house, but there was no slack for Jared. That's not how it worked in our household.

"The best? I'd have to give that to Jared. He does a very good job and is gifted with a little bit more size than myself and Jake. I'll give it to him."


All three of the Bernhardt brothers are soft spoken. Jared is the quietest of them, except when he talks about the impact of his brothers on his game.

All three learned the sport from their father, Jim, who played at Hofstra.

"My family let me have free rein on that," Jared said about coming to Maryland. "Maryland stood out because it was like I grew up here. Maryland felt like home to me.

"Both of my brothers are pretty good lacrosse players and they've done some good things. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here."

There has been a Bernhardt on the College Park campus regularly since 2009. They have either played for former Maryland coach Dave Cottle or current coach John Tillman.

"It's great to come back and teach and coach, and hopefully they will have the same kind of experience I had," Jesse said. "When Jared decided to come here, I knew he had made a great decision. I would like to think things turned out for the best for all of us."


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