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John Desko Retires, Gary Gait Tabbed as Replacement for Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse

John Desko is retiring as Syracuse men’s lacrosse head coach, and Gary Gait, who was coaching the women’s team at Syracuse, has been named as his replacement after what was a weird year for the program, as reported by Inside Lacrosse. An already dramatic year for Syracuse, from the Chase Scanlan saga to chaotic results on the field, takes another wild turn.

Desko became the Orange’s head coach in 1999 after playing at Syracuse from 1976-1979 and serving as an assistant from 1980-1998. In his 23 seasons, he won five national championships (2000, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009), took Syracuse to the Final Four 10 times (1999-2004, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2013), achieved six conference titles (four Big East, two ACC), and amassed a record of 266-93.

“After talking with my family, I have decided to retire,” Desko said in a statement. “I had planned on making a formal announcement later this week and will be addressing this decision in the near future – but in the meantime I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my family for all their support. My wife, Cindy, has been by my side every step of the way. I would not have been able to do this without her. I also want to thank all of the players who’ve been part of this program and the coaches for making my career so special. Moving forward, I’ll continue to be one of the program’s biggest supporters and I look forward to watching the team alongside Coach Simmons Jr. in the Dome.”

Gary Gait has led Syracuse women’s lacrosse since 2008 and gone to eight Final Fours (2008, 2010, 2012-2016, 2021), including an appearance in this year’s national title game, the program’s third under his watch. Previously, he was an assistant for Maryland women’s lacrosse for nine seasons and aided that program in winning multiple national championships. Before moving to the women’s game, Gait coached the Colorado Mammoth in the NLL for two seasons from 2005 to 2007.

It remains unclear who will become the new boss of Syracuse women’s lacrosse, but the program is in a better spot now than it was when Gary Gait first took it over, turning it from a perennial tournament team to a perennial Final Four contender.

Gary Gait is one of the most successful and influential lacrosse players of all time, achieving three national championships in college at Syracuse (1988-1990, though the 1990 crown was later vacated by the NCAA), spending nearly 20 seasons in the NLL and winning multiple titles, winning gold with Canada at the 2006 World Lacrosse Championship, inventing the “Air Gait” move, and so much more. He is a member of the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame, Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame, and NLL Hall of Fame.

Now for the other lacrosse news for the week of June 1-7, 2021.

Last Week in Lacrosse

Jared Bernhardt and Charlotte North were named the 2021 Tewaaraton Award winners, as was expected, putting a final stamp on this year’s college lacrosse season.

Kyle Harrison announced this will be his final season after a decades-long playing career in lacrosse.

The first weekend of PLL play is behind us, with Redwoods triumphing both of its contests to jump out to an early lead in the standings and Atlas, Waterdogs, Chaos, and Chrome leaving the first week of action without a win.

Cannons, the latest expansion team in the PLL, picked of its first victory as a member of the league, defeating Waterdogs, 13-7, on Sunday.

Cornell removed the interim tag on Connor Buczek and his staff for its men’s lacrosse program, officially giving Buczek the reigns after he replaced Peter Milliman in April 2020.

The Player’s Tribune spoke with Lyle Thompson’s father, Jai, about his son and lacrosse and turned it into a fabulously well done feature. Check it out:

The PLL has raised more money ahead of its third season, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is one of the latest investors in the league.

Inside Lacrosse’s Kevin Brown wrote a feature on Lars Tiffany, Dom Starsia, and the still-growing legacy of Virginia men’s lacrosse.

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