Matt Petherick, Physical Education and History

matthew-petherick2Matt Petherick’s roots in the Independent School League run deep. Milton’s head baseball coach for three years now, Matt competed in the league playing baseball at Roxbury Latin School. While he enjoyed nine years of teaching and coaching at a public school in central Massachusetts, he had been hoping for the opportunity to return to life in the ISL.

“The Independent School League has the best competition around,” Matt says. “Baseball in the ISL is much better than when I was in high school. The talent is the best in the state, and that raises the level of play and preparation for coaches and for players. You won’t find any easy wins in the ISL, and that makes everyone better.” That drive for excellence helped Matt lead his public school team to win a state championship.

Aside from teaching his athletes the skills of the game and helping them improve technically, he wants to show them the “right way to play the game,” he says. “Sometimes you work as hard as you can and you lose. Sometimes, if you’d worked harder, you could have won. Lessons in sports translate to larger, life lessons that I try to instill in my players.”

This year Matt teaches U.S. History to students in Classes II and I. Matt earned his degree in history at Brandeis University, and he enjoys opening students’ eyes to the rich layers of our country’s story.

“I enjoy helping students make connections between the readings and their world today—noticing patterns, identifying turning points, looking at how prior leaders have led. Helping students experience that “aha!” moment is what teaching is all about.”

Matt’s favorite areas of study are the Revolutionary War and the Jacksonian era. “I love an underdog story,” he says. “The men and women in the colonial period were so brave, and their victory over the British is a great story of courage. As for Andrew Jackson, he is a dichotomy and that is so interesting to me. You could argue that he was one of the country’s worst presidents or one of the greatest leaders of all time. Discussions with the students about these topics and viewpoints are always lively and interesting.

“Milton students are so hard working, across the board. They want to do well, and they have a real thirst for knowledge, in the classroom and outside of it.”

Matt is married with two young daughters, so he spends most of his precious downtime “being a dad” and running. He has competed in marathons—running Boston last spring, and he hopes to run again this year with his wife and friends.

In the immediate future, however, he’s looking forward to taking Milton’s baseball team to Port St. Lucie, Florida, this spring break for training. “We have a great group of guys this year—a nice mix of experience and new talent. I’m looking forward to a good season.”