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Paul Gait

Enshrined 2008

In his first 10 years as head men's lacrosse coach at Syracuse University, John Desko has blazed a trail of excellence that speaks for itself. Throughout his tenure, Desko has maintained the winning tradition that is Orange lacrosse and is one of the most respected coaches in the world. Since replacing Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame coach Roy Simmons, Jr. in 1999, Desko has kept the Orange in the hunt for a national title each and every year. He has brought home five national championships trophies (2000, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009).


Desko established a successful leadership style which has been recognized by many in the lacrosse world. His legacy of achievement led to his selection as the USILA Division 1 Coach of the Year in 2008 and the head coach of the 2006 U.S. National Team that competed at the ILF World Championship.


Desko came to SU from lacrosse hot-bed West Genesee High School as a player in 1976. He became an All-American and helped the team capture its first NCAA playoff berth in 1979. He was team captain in his junior and senior years. After finishing his playing career, Desko joined Simmons’ staff and helped mold one of the premier lacrosse programs in the country. After his 19 years with Simmons he was tapped to replace him and the school hasn't missed a beat since.


Desko is the third Orange lacrosse coach to be inducted into the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame, joining Simmons Jr. (1990) and Roy Simmons Sr. (1987).




* An overall record of 118-40 in 10 season at SU

* A postseason record of 23-5

* Five NCAA Championships (2000, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009)

* Six straight trips to NCAA Championship Weekend from 1999-2004 and eight trips to the NCAA semifinals overall

* Six appearances in the NCAA title game

* A 10-4 record at championship weekend

* a 6-2 record in the NCAA semis and a 4-2 mark in NCAA title games

* Inducted into the Central New York Chapter of the Lacrosse Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1997

* 2008 USILA Division I Coach of the Year

* 2006 U.S. National Team Head Coach

* 2006 Letterwinner of Distinction

* Fastest active Division I head coach to reach 100 wins (133 games)

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