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Petro to UNC – What’s Next for Syracuse?

In one of the more interesting moves in this years coaching cycle, this weekend saw Dave Pietramala leave Syracuse for a similar role with North Carolina. On the surface this could seem like a head scratcher, but in reality this move makes sense.

From a personal standpoint, this reunites Petro with his sons Dominic and Nick who are currently members of the Tar Heels. From a professional standpoint this makes sense as well. Like Syracuse, UNC is another Blue Blood lacrosse program that has shown it can compete for and win National Championships. Syracuse has a bevy of talent, but the pull of UNC was too much for Pietramala to pass up. UNC has proven in the past to bring in elite level recruits, and with Pietramala leading the defense it looks like it may be one step closer to putting it all together again.

Pietramala is renowned for his defensive expertise. He revolutionized defensive strategies in lacrosse and developed innovative techniques that transformed the way teams approach the game. His defensive units consistently ranked among the best in the nation, known for their disciplined and aggressive play. Pietramala’s ability to coach and motivate players on the defensive end of the field is widely recognized and has had a lasting impact on the sport. His revamped defensive approach was evident with this year’s Syracuse squad as you saw a tremendous jump in their level of play from 2022 to 2023.

He’s also proven that he is an elite level recruiter. Unlike his previous stops, the recognition of the UNC brand is something that he hasn’t been able to use in years prior. Yes, Syracuse and Hopkins are huge lacrosse brands, but UNC is a global brand thanks in part to its relationship with Jordan and Nike.

What’s Next for Syracuse?

With Pietramala leaving, Syracuse now has a huge position to fill on its coaching staff. The program has grown under Gary Gait, and this hire is vital to the continued success of the Gait-era Orange. Who they target, and who they get could be two very different things. This is one of those jobs that could see a current sitting Head Coach leave for.  While there have been names thrown around nothing has been confirmed other than Navy’s Joe Amplo will NOT be going to Syracuse.

Here’s a potential list of candidates:

  • John Galloway – This is potentially a long shot because it seems like Galloway is very comfortable at Jacksonville. The current head coach has built the Dolphins into a Top 20 program and has shown a tremendous ability to recruit and use the transfer portal. He’s a Syracuse Alumni who is also one of the greatest winners the program has ever had. A slam dunk hire and could possibly be the successor to the program when Gary Gait eventually retires. Would Galloway leave a current head coaching position for an assistant job? Would he want to wait potentially ten plus years to take over as head coach? Could that even be guaranteed? All questions that would need to be answered.
  • Ryan Wellner – Another long shot, but the architect of the Notre Dame defense would be a monumental get for the Orange. A phenomenal coach and recruiter, it would take quite a bit to leave Notre Dame considering all they have returning. Syracuse offers something very different to players, but equally attractive. The ability to play indoors, and the ability to get to school without having to fly.
  • Travis Crane – a solid recruiter, and there seems to be some buzz around him and this job. He has Power Five experience at Ohio State. He has also consistently built and developed very strong defenses during his time in Columbus.


  • Ric Beardsley – One of the programs all-time greats coming home would be insanity. Ric is one of the true legends of the game both on and off the field. While this may be a long shot it’s not as unrealistic as you may think. Beardsley is one of the finest clinicians in the game and has proven to be a championship level Head Coach. This is evident with his NYS championship with CBA. He can and would transfer it over to the DI level. The question is whether Syracuse and Gary Gait would want to.