Orange All-American and lacrosse Hall of Famer Gary Gait has developed the Syracuse program into a perennial challenger for the national championship. Since taking over the helm of the program, Gait has led SU to an overall record of 190-70, two appearances in the national championship game, eight entries in the national semifinals and two trips the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. In addition, the Orange has claimed six conference regular-season titles and three conference tournament crowns.
Gait is a 10-time NCAA champion, having won three titles as a player for the Orange (1988-90) and seven as an assistant women’s lacrosse coach at the University of Maryland (1995-01).
As a player, Gait enjoyed success at every level. While at Syracuse he helped the Orange to three straight NCAA titles, earned first-team All-America honors three times and received the Player of the Year award twice. Gait’s dominance continued at the professional level as he earned league MVP honors in both the National Lacrosse League and Major League Lacrosse. On the international scene, Gait has been recognized as one of the sport’s best players, earning International Lacrosse Federation (ILF) All-World Team honors.
RETURN TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
Gait was named the second head coach in the history of the Syracuse women’s lacrosse program in August 2007. In his first season, Gait led the Orange to new heights. Syracuse won its first outright BIG EAST regular-season crown and successfully defended the tournament title. The Orange earned a program-best fifth seed in the NCAA Championship, where it defeated Towson and North Carolina to advance to the Final Four for the first time in school history.
Syracuse set four NCAA single-season records on its way to a school-record 18 victories. The Orange led the nation in scoring with 541 points and also established new standards for goals (18.01) and points (25.64) per game.
Four student-athletes earned All-America honors, while six were named to the All-Region First Team - both program bests. Syracuse dominated the BIG EAST awards, claiming Attack and Defensive Player of the Year honors and seven all-conference nods. The student-athletes weren’t the only members of the program to earn recognition for the Orange’s success as Gait was voted the IWLCA Regional Coach of the Year.
In 2009, Syracuse shared the BIG EAST regular-season title and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals for the third consecutive year. Individually, three student-athletes earned All-America status, while five were recognized as All-Region selections. The Orange took home the BIG EAST Attack and Midfield Player of the of the Year awards, and seven players were voted to the all-conference teams.
The Orange returned to the Final Four in 2010 by winning on the road in the first and second rounds. Syracuse became just the second unseeded team to advance to the Final Four since 2005 and finished the season with a record of 15-7. The 15 wins are the second-highest single-season total in school history.
Liz Hogan earned the IWLCA Goalkeeper of the Year award and was one of four student-athletes who earned All-America honors. In addition, five were named to the All-Region team. The Orange claimed two BIG EAST Player of the Year honors for the third consecutive year, while six earned all-conference accolades.
The Orange claimed its fourth BIG EAST regular-season title in five years in 2011, when it posted a league record of 7-1. Gait was named BIG EAST co-Coach of the Year.
In 2012, Gait led Syracuse to the most successful season in program history. The Orange won a school-record 19 games and went undefeated in BIG EAST play for the second time in school history. Syracuse won a program-best 15 consecutive games and climbed as high as No. 2 in the national polls. The Orange advanced to the national semifinals for the third time in five years where it came back from a seven-goal deficit to defeat No. 1 Florida in double overtime. SU's historic season came to an end in an 8-6 setback against Northwestern in the national championship game.
Michelle Tumolo earned the IWLCA Attacker of the Year award and was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Trophy. She was one four players to earn All-America honors. In addition, five were named to the All-Region Team. Tumolo was also named the BIG EAST Attack Player of the Year and was one of nine student-athlete named to the All-BIG EAST teams. Gait was honored as the BIG EAST and Northest Region Coach of the Year.
Syracuse's success continued in 2013 when the Orange won the BIG EAST regular-season and tournament titles and advanced to the national semifinals. SU went undefeated in conference play during the regular season for the second consecutive year. Alyssa Murray was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award, while Becca Block earned the IWLCA Defender of the Year award. The duo earned IWLCA first-team All-America honors, as did freshman Kayla Treanor. Gait was honored as the IWLCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year for the second straight year and the third time in his career.
The 2014 season was a historical one for the Orange. Syracuse was ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history, earning the top spot in back-to-back weeks in April. The Orange made its ACC debut and earned a share of the regular-season title.
Syracuse earned a program-best No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and defeated Stony Brook and Boston College to advance to the national semifinals for the third consecutive year. SU defeated ACC foe Virginia to move on to the title game to face top-ranked Maryland. The Orange fell behind early and its second-half comeback wasn't enough in a 15-12 loss. The Orange finished the season with a program-best 21 victories.
For the first time in school history, Syracuse had two Tewaaraton Award finalists in Treanor and Murray. Both were IWLCA First Team All-Americans. Treanor, who led the nation in scoring, also earned the IWLCA Attacker of the Year and ACC Offensive Player of the Year awards.
The Orange advanced to the national semifinals for the fourth straight year in 2015. Facing the toughest schedule in the country, Syracuse was ranked in the top 10 all season and recorded four wins against teams ranked in the top five. Syracuse claimed its first ACC Tournament crown by defeating the No. 4, No.3 and No. 2 ranked teams in a span of four days. He was voted by his peers as the ACC Coach of the Year.
Treanor was once again recognized as one of the top top players in the nation. She was a finalist for the Tewaaraton Award as well as the Honda Award and earned IWLCA All-America First Team honors. Treanor also repeated as the ACC Offensive Player of the Year. Halle Majorana joined Treanor on the All-America First Team, while senior Kailah Kempney was a second-team selection.
Syracuse's success continued in 2016. The Orange once again advanced to the national semifinals, making their fifth straight appearance at championship weekend. Treanor solidifed her position as one of the best to ever play the game, finishing her career in the top six on the NCAA Division I all-time record list list for points and goals. In addition, she became the first four-time IWLCA All-America First Team selection in program history. She was joined the on the All-America Team by Halle Majorana.
SUCCESS ON THE SIDELINES
Gait has coached and recruited some of the greatest players in the history of the women’s game, including NCAA career scoring leader and 2001 Tewaaraton Trophy winner Jen Adams, four-time All-American and 1995 National Defensive Player of the Year and 1996 National Offensive Player of the Year Kelly Amonte, and 2008 national scoring champ and Tewaaraton Trophy finalist Katie Rowan. In all, Gait has mentored 36 All-Americans and nine players who at one time earned national player of the year honors.
Prior to returning to his alma mater, Gait spent two seasons as the head coach of the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). In his first two campaigns, he led the Mammoth to two playoff appearances and the 2006 league championship. Gait’s professional coaching experience also includes four seasons (2002-05) as player-coach of Major League Lacrosse’s (MLL) Baltimore Bayhawks. He won championships there, as well, taking home MLL titles in 2002 and 2005.
Gait tasted success coaching on the international level when he led Team Canada to the 2007 Men’s World Indoor Championship. Gait’s squad rolled through the tournament, winning all five of its games, including the championship tilt, 15-14, versus the Iroquois. In the summer of 2008, he served as the head coach of the Canadian men’s under-19 team that won the silver medal at the ILF World Championship.
As an assistant at Maryland, Gait helped build one of the most impressive dynasties in NCAA history. The Terps compiled a remarkable 164-16 (.911) overall record in his nine years on the staff, including four undefeated seasons (1995, 1996, 1999, 2001) and seven consecutive NCAA championships (1995-01).
DOMINANCE ON THE FIELD
Gait’s success as a coach might only be surpassed by his accomplishments as a player. He has won every major collegiate, professional and international championship in the sport during his career. In addition to his three NCAA championships with the Orange, Gait has won three NLL titles (1991, 1994-95), three MLL titles (2001-02, 2005), three Mann Cups (1991, 1997, 1999), which are awarded to the senior men’s lacrosse champions of Canada, the Heritage Cup (2004), which goes to the winner of the international box lacrosse tournament every two years, and the International Lacrosse Federation (ILF) World Championship (2006).
DONNING THE ORANGE
A native of Victoria, British Columbia, Gait and his twin brother, Paul, began their playing careers at Syracuse in 1987. There, under the tutelage of SU head coach Roy Simmons Jr., the duo revolutionized lacrosse, bringing a sense of style and excitement to the game that had never been seen before. At no time was that more evident than in the 1988 national semifinal against Penn at the Carrier Dome when Gary unveiled the “Air Gait,” scoring twice by dunking over the top of the goal from behind.
While Gait’s individual theatrics delighted the crowd, Syracuse also excelled as a team with him running the midfield. His Orange squads registered an overall record of 51-5 (.911) from 1987-90, won three national titles, and posted two undefeated seasons (1988, 1990). In 1990, Gait was selected as the NCAA Tournament MVP on what many still call “the greatest lacrosse team ever assembled.”
Individually, he earned All-America honors four times, including three straight first-team nods (1988-90). He also won the Lt. Raymond Enners Award (National Player of the Year) twice (1988, 1990) and the Lt. Donald C. MacLaughlin Jr. Award (Midfielder of the Year) in 1988 and 1990.
Gait still holds the Syracuse career goals scored record (192), which was the NCAA single-season record until 2008. He also owns SU’s single-season goals mark (70), and his nine tallies against Navy in the 1990 NCAA Tournament tied the tournament and school single-game standards.
In conjunction with the 1997 Final Four, the NCAA Lacrosse Committee named Gait, and his brother, Paul, to the 25th Anniversary Lacrosse Team.
JOINING THE PROFESSIONAL RANKS
After his collegiate playing career, Gait took his talents to the professional level, where he played 17 years in the NLL with the Detroit Turbos, Philadelphia Wings, Baltimore Thunder, Pittsburgh CrossFire, Washington Power, and Colorado Mammoth. In 1991 with Detroit, he was named the NLL Rookie of the Year, and later in his career he was selected the league’s MVP a record six times, including five in a row (1995-99). He was also an All-Pro every season.
Gait led the NLL in points and goals seven times and he finished his indoor career as the league’s all-time leading scorer with 1,091 points (since broken) when he retired in 2005. He also won three league championships, leading the Turbos to the title in 1991 and the Wings to consecutive titles in 1994 and 1995. In 2009, Gait came out of retirement after a three-year absence to play for the Rochester Knighthawks for two-plus seasons.
In recognition of his extraordinary NLL career, he was selected as one of five charter members of the league’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Gait also played five outdoor seasons in Major League Lacrosse. He made his MLL debut with the Long Island Lizards in 2001 before taking over as player-coach of the Bayhawks the following season.
In 2005, Gait led the league in goals, points, and hat tricks. He finished tied in the voting for league MVP and was named the MVP of the championship game after leading the Bayhawks to their second Steinfeld Cup. Gait also won championships with Baltimore in 2002 and the Lizards in 2001. He was named to the MLL 10-year anniversary team in 2010.
Gait’s other playing accomplishments include helping the Victoria Shamrocks to the Mann Cup in 1997 and 1999, winning the 2004 Heritage Cup (Canada), and leading Canada to its first world title since 1978 at the 2006 ILF World Championship in London, Ontario. Playing on the international stage for the final time, Gait saved his best for last, tallying four goals in the ILF title tilt to lead the Canadians to a 15-10 upset of the U.S. squad.
Gait, a 2005 National Lacrosse Hall of Fame inductee, also spends time off the field working to grow the game. He is the president of NDP Lacrosse, a national lacrosse development and education program, and was the chairman of the 2007 Under Armour Boys All-America selection committee.
He and his wife, Nicole, have two children, Taylor, who played for the Orange from 2013-19, and Braedon, who played lacrosse at Princeton.