The rich keep on getting richer! Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse shook up the lax world last week by announcing the retirement of John Desko and the hiring of Gary Gait. Cuse replaced a hall of famer with another hall of famer. Now, Gait’s first move as the new head coach was to hire yet another hall of famer.
Gait has hired Dave Pietramala as Syracuse’s next defensive coordinator.
Terry Foy and Ty Xanders of Inside Lacrosse were the first to report on it. They are saying it is currently a verbal agreement between the two and an official announcement is expected soon.
This is ridiculous. If you aren’t aware of how crazy this move is, let’s have Mike Waters try to explain it in basketball terms.
Hopefully that helps.
If the name Dave Pietramala rings a bell, it’s not surprising. He is a staple in the lacrosse universe and a long-time foe of Syracuse. Pietramala played for Johns Hopkins from 1986-1989, where he was a three-time First Team All-American and two time recipient of the Schmeisser Award that goes to the nation’s most outstanding defenseman.
He played at Hopkins during the same time that Gait was playing at Syracuse. The two matched up against each other quite a few times, including the 1989 National Championship when the Orange rallied in the fourth quarter to squeak out a 13-12 victory. Gait had two goals in that game despite the hounding defense from Pietramala.
After his playing days, Pietramala put together an impressive coaching career. He began as the defensive coordinator at Johns Hopkins from 1995-1997. From there, he moved on to be the head coach at Cornell from 1998-2000, where he earned national Coach of the Year honors. In 2001, he returned to his alma mater as the new head coach.
Through 20 seasons, Pietramala became Hopkins’ all-time winningest coach with 207 victories. He led the Blue Jays to 18 NCAA Tournaments, seven Final Fours and four National Championship games, two of which he won and hoisted the trophy.
After a down season in 2020, Pietramala and Johns Hopkins parted ways. Now, after one season off, he is returning to the sidelines, but this time donning orange.
In the past, Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse likes to keep its hires in-family, meaning SU alums. Just look at the recent assistants and head coaches, most of them used to play for the Orange. So, when Gait was hired and there were rumors he wanted to bring in a new defensive coordinator, a lot of people looked to Ric Beardsley, who had resigned from coaching at Christian Brothers Academy a few weeks earlier.
Either guy would have been a great choice, but it is hard to look past Dave Pietramala when he is available. His knowledge of the game is hard to come by and his experience will help Gait in his new role. Plus, these two guys have known each other for decades helping build some chemistry on the sidelines.
To put this all in perspective– Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse just put the best offensive player ever and arguably a top-five defensive player ever at the helm of the most historic and successful program ever. Wow.