December 23, 2009

This article appears in the December issue of Lacrosse Magazine. Don't get the mag? Join US Lacrosse and its 300,000-plus members today to start your subscription.

Best of 2009
Male Player | Female Player | Male Performance | Female Performance | Male Coach | Female Coach| Game | Comeback | Breakthrough | Look | Mainstream Moment | Fan

'09 Rewind: John Desko, Male Coach of the Year

Syracuse has thrived under the "What, me worry?" temperament of head coach John Desko.

© Kevin P. Tucker

Did anyone catch the replay of Desko’s reaction when he saw the Foxboro Flip, the 24 seconds of mayhem that breathed new life into Syracuse with an overtime frame against Cornell in the NCAA final?

He raised his arm and looked excited, but he didn’t lose his mind like everyone else in the stadium and watching at home. He expected his team to win, and wasn’t surprised when he saw a legendary, game-winning play. Like the coach, the team never lost its cool and always expected to get the W.

After a rocky stretch in 2006 (head coach of silver-medalist Team USA) and ’07 (‘Cuse’s first losing season since the 1970s), Desko has rebounded with back-to-back national championships and ranks as the NCAA tournament’s all-time winningest coach (27-5, .844).


Dave Huntley, Toronto Nationals
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John Jez, C.W. Post
Jez took the Pioneers to a 15-1 mark and the NCAA crown, capping a personal comeback from a stroke he suffered four years ago.

Paul Cantabene, Stevenson
The Division III coach finally realized the fruits of five years of labor, leading the Mustangs to a No. 2 ranking and NCAA semifinal berth.

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