Erik C. Bertelsen, Jr. ’72

Bates basketball star became an effective coach and counselor

Erik Bertelsen grew up on the Jersey shore and graduated from Ocean Township High School in Oakhurst, N.J., in 1968. While at Ocean H.S. he was an “All Shore” performer on the school’s Shore Conference Championship basketball team. While in high school he met Ted Beal ’64, who became one of the most influential individuals in his life. Ted later married Erik’s sister Karen. In large part because of his relationship with Ted, Erik attended Bates.

Erik majored in history, started for four years on the varsity basketball team, scored over 1,000 points and served as the team’s captain as a senior. He was coached by George Wigton, who remains a close friend. This was pre-NESCAC, and Bates played many top ranked teams who today are in Divisions I or II.

Highlights during his time at Bates were wins over University of Maine and University of Hartford (who at the time had the longest winning streak in New England), and of course, wins over Colby and Bowdoin. In his years at Bates, Erik also served on the intramural council, as a “resident fellow,” directed athletic program sales, and in 1971, was one of two juniors named to the College Club of Bates. Erik graduated from Bates in 1972.

Following Bates, he served as assistant basketball coach and sports information director at Kean College of New Jersey. While there he helped to turn a perennially losing program into a highly competitive team in the New Jersey State College Athletic Conference. During summers, Erik continued to play at a high level in the highly competitive Jersey Shore Summer League.

In 1974 Erik returned to Bates when he was hired by Milt Lindholm to work in Admissions. While serving under Milt, Erik was named an associate dean. In this role, Erik initiated and coordinated the college’s Alumni in Admissions program. He also continued to play basketball, competing in the Maine semipro league.

After another four very rewarding years at Bates, Erik left to work in the admissions office at Williams College. Two years later he was appointed as the director of college counseling at Belmont Hill School in Belmon, Mass. In 1990 Erik was named the Counselor of the Year in Massachusetts by the New England Association of College Admissions Counselors.

In addition to his responsibilities as a college counselor, Erik served for 17 years as the school’s varsity basketball coach. During his tenure there he was three times named Coach of the Year in the 13-team independent school league and took his team to the New England tournament on numerous occasions. A number of his players went on to play at Bates. After giving up the reins at Belmont Hill, Erik continued to coach at youth levels.

Following Belmont Hill, Erik served as Associate Dean of Admissions at Colby. At Colby he was the athletics liaison and represented the school at NESCAC deans’ meetings centered on athletics and admissions at member schools. For the past six years, Erik has been the assistant head for enrollment at Pomfret School in Connecticut.

As both a college admissions officer and as a college counselor, Erik has often served as a presenter and panelist at regional and national conferences associated with college admission and counseling. He also was a founder of the Boston Independent College Counselors Association.

Perhaps Erik’s most rewarding professional experience was co-founding, and for 23 years directing, the Bates All-Sports camp which brought nearly 8,000 campers to the Bates campus. The camp encouraged campers to step outside of their comfort zone by trying new things. Sportsmanship, teamwork, giving one’s best effort, and most important of all, having fun while playing sports were hallmarks of this highly successful camp. In an age of specialization, the camp went against the grain, as it encouraged young people to participate in a variety of sports and fostered healthy attitudes about sports and competition.

Erik is a member of the College Key and in 1984 was named President of the Alumni Association of Bates.

Erik is married to Abigail Jones. Abby attended Mount Holyoke, where she captained and coached the varsity rowing program. Abby founded the Bates College All-Sports junior camp and currently serves as the director of financial aid at Pomfret School. Abby and Erik have three children: Christian, Andrew and Jane.

For his devotion to his college, and his decades of service and leadership, we are honored to welcome Erik Bertelsen, Class of 1972, into the membership of the Bates Scholar-Athlete Society.