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Hettler Leads Athletic Program Into New Era

Emanne Khan '19
With a slew of recent championships and the construction of the brand new Athletics and Wellness Center, it’s certainly an exciting time to be involved with athletics at Derryfield. After Lenny McCaigue retired as Athletic Director this past spring, longtime middle school science teacher and lacrosse and alpine skiing coach Chris Hettler assumed the position to lead the School into this new era.

Since his arrival at Derryfield in 2002, Mr. Hettler has served in a variety of capacities, including as a classroom teacher, an eighth grade advisor, the Associate Director of Athletics, and a multi-sport varsity level coach. “I have really enjoyed my time in the classroom as a middle school science teacher, but with Mr. McCaigue's announcement of retirement I saw this as an opportunity to continue to grow professionally and spread my love and passion for athletics,” he shared. “Athletics have given me many opportunities in my life on and off the field.” 

Mr. Hettler played four years of lacrosse at Colgate University, and is familiar with the triumphs and challenges that players experience both on the field and in the classroom. His time as a college athlete instilled in him an appreciation for how closely related athletics and academics are, and he shared that “my goal as the new Athletic Director is to continue the legacy that Mr. McCaigue started in which students at Derryfield develop a lifelong love of physical fitness and athletics. I want to help all Derryfield students see the benefits of a strong academic and athletic education.”

In addition to encouraging participation in all school teams, he noted that “I would also like to continue to grow our ability to help student athletes get recruited and play in college.” Mr. Hettler lists “a strong work ethic,” “organizational skills,” “time management,” and “being able to listen and communicate clearly” as skills that will help him work towards these goals. 

He expects the new academic schedule, in which longer periods of time are allotted for classes and activities, to facilitate integrating physical fitness into the school day. During their Exploration block, students will have the opportunity to participate in activities such as rugby sevens and pickleball that will get them moving between classes. 

As for how the new facility dedicated exclusively to health and wellness will affect the athletics program, he shared that “fitness, agility, speed, and weight lifting programs are expected to be offered during the day and after school.” The new building also includes courts that will expand opportunities for the middle and upper school basketball teams and provides athletes a year-round practice space during inclement weather. 

Given his contributions to the Derryfield community as well as his history of fostering athletic  excellence, there’s no doubt that during this time of exciting change, Mr. Hettler is the right man for the job.
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