The rumors were true after all. After much speculation, Dave Pietramala was announced as the new defensive coordinator for Syracuse men’s lacrosse this week in a splash hire for new head coach Gary Gait. The confirmation of the acquisition officially brings together arguably the two greatest players at their respective positions and provides Syracuse with an embarrassment of riches in two head coaches on its staff.
Dave Pietramala to Syracuse: What Does It Mean?
Syracuse has always been a tradition-rich program. From Laurie Cox all the way through to Gary Gait, the Orange have always had deep roots in the sport of lacrosse. It’s fitting that they now have two of the all-time greats roaming the same sidelines.
As players, these two had epic battles at both the collegiate and international levels, with Gait’s Orange getting the better of Petro’s Blue Jays during their collegiate careers. Their 1989 battle is the stuff of legends, and that 1989 NCAA Championship is talked about as one of the greatest lacrosse games ever played. Syracuse and Johns Hopkins have been bitter rivals for a long time, so for many it will be interesting to see Petro in Orange. Dave Pietramala has been synonymous with Blue Jay lacrosse for so long that this will undoubtedly add more fuel to the Syracuse-Johns Hopkins rivalry.
This is a slam dunk hire for Gary Gait. While some may question his appointment as head coach because of his lack of experience on the men’s side of collegiate lacrosse, this just reinforces that he knows what he’s doing when it comes to managing a program. He went out there and sold the best man for the job, one of the greatest head coaches our sport has seen, on being an assistant/associate head coach for his alma mater’s rival.
Imagine being a recruit and getting a call from these two coaches? If you have a parent who has played lacrosse, don’t be surprised if they ask these two for an autograph on your visit. They transcend the sport of lacrosse.
Petro has always been known for his attention to detail, especially on defense, and that is something he will bring to an Orange program that has been known for being freewheeling. This will pay huge dividends in recruiting and already has. With Joey Spallina, the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2022, set to join the Orange, it seems like the future is bright in Syracuse.
The Women’s Program
Where does this leave the women’s program now that Gary Gait has transitioned over to the men’s side? Under Gait, Syracuse women’s lacrosse evolved into one of the premier programs in the country and one of the most sought-after jobs.
If I’m Syracuse, there are two people I am pushing hard for, and one is Joe Spallina. He has undoubtedly built a powerhouse at Stony Brook, a school that many thought could never be great at lacrosse, because it’s been known as a commuter school. He’s the greatest women’s lacrosse coach in the history of Division II and has seen success at every level he’s coached. It doesn’t hurt that his son will be wearing No. 22 in a year, either. The other is Boston College’s Kayla Treanor. Fresh off a national championship and one of the greatest players in Syracuse history, this would also be a phenomenal hire.
The Previous Staff
While there’s a ton of excitement around the Gary Gait hire, you cannot help but think about John Desko’s staff and what will happen to them. First, Syracuse needed to do better by John Desko. It was completely unacceptable and unfair to show the door via a leaked story to a Hall of Fame coach who has bled Orange his entire life and been there since Manley Field House had a dirt floor. It’s a shame how Syracuse handled this situation, and I hope it does a better job moving forward.
Second, Pat March has been said to be staying on as offensive coordinator, which is smart considering he’s one of the game’s bright, young coaches. I think Gait and him will work well together and the Orange offense will flourish.
What happens to Roy Simmons III? It hasn’t been talked about much, but most likely Simmons III will stay in his role as Director of Operations. The Simmons family has always been linked to Syracuse lacrosse, and if he were to leave, this would be the first time in close to a century that a Simmons wouldn’t be involved in Orange lax.
Where does Lelan Rogers go? With all the fanfare that Dave Pietramala’s hire brought, it unfortunately meant that Lelan Rogers would no longer be part of the staff at Syracuse. Prior to his tenure with the Orange, he was one of the most decorated DIII head coaches with stops at Cortland and OWU, so only time will tell.
How will the Gait/Pietramala marriage go in Syracuse? We will see. If it’s anything like how they played, then here’s to an early prediction that Syracuse men’s lacrosse will be back to the prominence that most people remember.