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Orange Sports
Head Coach Desko
 
Name:John Desko
Title:Head Coach
Team:Syracuse
Email:Not available without sign-in.
Years
Coaching:
29
Summary:
Looking back at his first seven years as head men's lacrosse coach at Syracuse University, John Desko has blazed a trail of excellence that speaks for itself.  It is a record that helps distinguish him as one of the most respected coaches in the nation.  After he completes his eighth season at the helm in 2006, he will serve as head coach of the U.S. National Team at the 2006 International Lacrosse Federation World Championship.  The announcement of his selection came in December 2004, seven months after winning his third NCAA Championship.

Desko has worked hard to maintain the winning tradition that is Syracuse Lacrosse.  Since replacing Hall of Fame coach Roy Simmons Jr. in 1999, Desko has kept the Orange in the hunt for a national championship each and every year.  In the process, he has established his own style of leadership that has proven to be quite successful.  Here is a list of Desko's staggering statistics:

* An overall record of 87-25 in seven seasons

* A postseason record of 17-4

* Three NCAA Championships (2000, 2002, 2004)

* Six-straight trips to NCAA Championship Weekend from 1999-2004

* Five NCAA title-game appearances

* An 8-3 record at championship weekend

* A 5-1 record in the NCAA semifinals

Desko owns the best winning percentage of any active NCAA Division I coach today (.777).  He holds the best winning percentage in the NCAA Championship of any coach in the history of college lacrosse (.810).

Desko won his third NCAA Championship trophy after his team defeated the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the 2004 tournament during the final weekend of play.  His other titles came in 2000 and 2002.

Since he accepted the head coaching reins, Syracuse has had 26 players earn All-America honors.  He and his staff have achieved success by scheduling the nation's toughest competition.  Since he took over in 1999, Syracuse is 30-17 against top 10 teams.

The Orange was one of the last four teams standing come Memorial Day weekend for 22 years between 1983 and 2004.  It was as much a reflection upon Desko as anyone, considering he was the one person directly associated with the team during each of the "streak's" 22 seasons.

The famous "streak" was put to one of its toughest tests in 2003 when Desko and company endured a 10-6 campaign, uncharacteristic of a program that had not lost six games since 1977.  But, under Desko's leadership and experience, Syracuse rebounded to win its next three games, including a 15-5 victory against Princeton in the NCAA quarterfinals.

In 1999, his first year on the job, the squad lost four regular-season games, but advanced to the NCAA title game as the No. 8 seed. 

Last season, Desko helped guide the team to its 23rd consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, but SU was ousted in the first round by Massachusetts, 16-15, and finished the season with a 7-6 record. 

Desko's success has led him to additional opportunities outside of Syracuse, the most recent being his appointment as the U.S. National Team coach for the 2006 World Games in London, Ontario.  In 2000, Desko served as a coach for the north team in the annual North/South Senior All-Star game at the University of Delaware. From 1999-2003, he served as a member of the NCAA Lacrosse Committee, a group that oversees and regulates rules, championships and other issues pertinent to the sport.

When Roy Simmons Jr. retired in 1998, there was no better choice to take over as head coach of the Orange than Desko.  He spent 19 seasons on the sidelines as Simmons' top assistant during a time when SU won six national championships and appeared in 16 consecutive final fours.

Desko came to Syracuse as a player in 1976. He promptly helped SU accomplish its first winning season (7-4) since 1971. As a sophomore midfielder, the team went 8-6 and scored a school-record 238 goals. SU's fastest midfielder his first two seasons, Desko switched to defense as a junior and the Orange continued its winning ways. Syracuse went 10-3 in 1978.  With Desko leading the way on defense, SU held opponents to 104 goals, the lowest total in eight years on the "The Hill."

With just two years of experience on defense, Desko earned All-America honors as he helped SU to a 10-5 record in 1979 and the school's first NCAA playoff berth. He served as team captain as a junior and senior and helped improve the team's record each of his four years.

Upon finishing his playing career, Desko joined Simmons' staff and helped build one of the premier programs in collegiate lacrosse.  In his 19 seasons as an assistant, the Orange compiled a record of 229-43 (.842), were selected to the NCAA Tournament 18 times in 19 seasons, reached the Final Four 16 consecutive times and won six national championships.

As an assistant, Desko coordinated recruiting and served as co-director of the popular Syracuse University Lacrosse Camp, held each summer on campus. Desko recruited some of the best lacrosse players to have played the game, including two-time National Player of the Year and Outstanding Midfielder Gary Gait, two-time Outstanding Attackman Tim Nelson, four-time All-American Brad Kotz, three-time All-American Paul Gait and the Powell brothers, the school's top three all-time leading point scorers (Michael, Casey and Ryan Powell).

In the Fall of 1997, Desko was inducted into the Central New York Chapter of the Lacrosse Foundation's Hall of Fame for his service to lacrosse.

Desko attended high school at lacrosse-hotbed West Genesee in Syracuse, where he also excelled in football and basketball. He earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from Syracuse University.

Desko's two younger brothers, Dave and Jeff, were also All-American lacrosse players at Syracuse. John, his wife, Cindy, their sons, Timothy and Ryan, and daughters, Nicole and Casey, live in Syracuse, N.Y.

Coach Donahue
 
Name:Kevin Donahue
Title:Assistant
Team:Syracuse
Email:Not available without sign-in.
Years
Coaching:
20
Specialties:Midfielders and Goalies
Summary:

Kevin Donahue, the 2001 recipient of the Jay Gallagher Award, returns for his 18th season on the SU coaching staff. The Gallagher Award goes to the nation's outstanding Division I assistant coach and is presented annually at the coaches' convention.

Donahue focuses his attention on the SU midfielders and goaltenders. He is also instrumental in formulating the Orange's offensive plays and in coaching the face-off specialists.

He serves as director of the Future Orange All-Star Day Camp, held each July on the SU campus.

Under Donahue's guidance, two attackmen and two midfielders earned All-America accolades the past two seasons.  In 2005, attackmen Brett Bucktooth and Mike Leveille received honorable mention recognition, while midfielder Greg Rommel was named to the All-America Second Team and midfielder/attackman Brian Crockett was selected to the third team.  In 2004, Michael Powell (first team) and Brian Crockett (third team) were the two attackmen, while Sean Lindsay (first team) and Steve Vallone (second team) were the midfielders who represented SU on the All-America honors list. 

Prior to his tenure at SU, Donahue spent seven years as a lacrosse coach at West Genesee High School, where he still teaches in the science department.

During Donahue's 17 years as an assistant at SU, the midfield has produced some of the nation's best, including Paul and Gary Gait, Charlie Lockwood, Dom Fin, Roy Colsey, Matt Caione, Josh Coffman, Spencer Wright, Sean Lindsay and Steve Vallone.  The top face-off men Donahue has worked with during his SU career include Bill Dirrigl, Kirk Pratt, Bob Feisee and Chris Cercy.

As a collegian, Donahue came to SU from West Genesee High School and was the first of three brothers to play for the Orange. Donahue was a three-time All-American midfielder for SU in 1977 (honorable mention), 1978 (second team) and 1979 (first team). A high school and college teammate of John Desko, Donahue was coach Roy Simmons Jr.'s first first-team All-American. He received his bachelor's degree in biology from SU in 1979.

Kevin and his wife, Laurie, live in Camillus with their sons, Collin and Dylan, and their daughter, Riley.

Coach Simmons III
 
Name:Roy Simmons III
Title:Assistant
Team:Syracuse
Email:Not available without sign-in.
Years
Coaching:
11
Specialties:Defense
Summary:

Roy Simmons III is in his eighth season in charge of the Syracuse defense in 2006. For the past seven seasons, he has been instrumental in devising defensive schemes that shut down opposing teams' offensive attacks. He has aided in the development of some of the nation's top "D-men," including the 2000 and 2002 Defensemen of the Year, Marshall Abrams and John Glatzel. He has coached 10 All-Americans since 1999, including Abrams, Glatzel, Rob Mulligan, Billy St. George, Solomon Bliss, Scott Ditzell, Jay Pfeifer and Steve Panarelli. 

In 2001, SU's defensive unit posted the lowest goals against average since 1988. The 128 goals Syracuse gave up in 2001 was the fewest since 1990 - when the team yielded just 124 goals in 13 games. Simmons helped the defense finish eighth in the nation in scoring defense, giving up a measly 8.00 goals per game. That was the lowest average a Syracuse defensive unit allowed since 1988 when the Orange gave up an average of 7.87 goals per game.

In addition to his heavy influence on SU's defense, Simmons shares additional responsibilities with team travel, recruiting and administrative duties.

Syracuse Lacrosse is in "Simmie's" blood. He returned to Syracuse and the Orange lacrosse program for his third stint as an assistant coach when John Desko took the head coaching reins in 1999. Previously, he had coached SU men's lacrosse from 1989-92 under his father, Roy Simmons Jr. He also coached under his father from 1980-86, and coached the junior varsity team from 1980-82 before joining the varsity staff.

Simmons came back to Syracuse in 1998-99 from the Baldwinsville Central School District, where he served as a high school coach and secondary school guidance counselor for three years.  Simmons also worked in the Jamesville-DeWitt School District as a coach and counselor. From 1986-88 he was head lacrosse coach and Residence Hall Director at Keuka College. Simmons helped found the lacrosse program at Keuka. He also served as an assistant residence hall director at SU from 1988-90.

A 1985 graduate of Syracuse with a bachelor's degree in physical education, Simmons received his master's degree in counselor education from Syracuse in 1992. He was a letterwinner in lacrosse under his father from 1978-81. While at SU he played four years and appeared in two NCAA Tournaments. Simmons came to SU from Fayetteville-Manlius High School where he was an all-county attackman and served as team captain as a junior and senior.

He and his wife, Eileen, live in Fayetteville with sons, Roy IV and Ryan.

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