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New SU Orange Men's Lacrosse Coach wants to Pack the Dome, Again with Thousands

gary_gait_first_press_conference_as_head_coach.jpg livestream

One of Syracuse University’s most accomplished men’s lacrosse Alums greeted the media for the first time today as the team’s next Head Coach following John Desko’s retirement announcement.  Gary Gait expressed his great friendship with Desko dating back to when he was player. 

“John really dialed in the game and what we needed to do to have success.  I think it made me realize that you have to be able to do both and teach both the game and take the other side that Coach (Roy) Simmons always did.”

The career move for Gait is bittersweet as he leaves behind SU’s Women’s Team as Head Coach.  He credits himself to boosting the program as a  Top 5 ranked team and wishes it could have ended with a championship win.  However, he’s now focused on shaping his next team on the men’s side.

“I’ve done a lot already.  I’ve gotten up to speed with the recruits, the players.  So now it’s back to recruiting.  It’s going to be the focus for the summer.” 

Desko enjoyed 5 national championships with the last victory in 2009.  Gait says he doesn’t pressure his players about winning championships but, he builds teams to be successful and convinces them it’s possible to get there.  He also wants to see players develop unpredictable playing skills.

“I think the really great goal scorers shoot anywhere and they take what’s given to them.  They may shoot underhand, behind the back, switch hands, whatever it is.  So the goalies can’t guess or bait or do all that.  So, I think we’ll be teaching these kids that there’s a lot of options trying to break habits and really help develop some of the next great players.”

Gait envisions to build up "the buzz" of the the program back to the days the Dome packed in 30,000 fans. SU Athletic Director John Wildhack says the search to replace Desko wasn’t about finding the best alum, it was about finding the best person.  Gait becomes only the 5th Head Coach in the history of SU’s men’s lacrosse program.   

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.