Sunday, February 6, 2011

Gary Gait retires, will focus on coaching

One of the greatest lacrosse players in the history of the sport, has again decided to call it a career. only this time it’s for good. And what a career it was for the incomparable Gary Gait, who announced through the Rochester Knighthawks that he was retiring effective immediately to concentrate on his coaching duties with the Syracuse University women’s team, as well as with the Hamilton Nationals of Major League Lacrosse.
The franchise has been great to me,” Gait said in a statement released today prior to the Knighthawks’ game against Philadelphia. “They asked me to play, and I did, and now it’s time to focus on coaching.”
Gait originally retired from the National Lacrosse League in 2005, but he was asked to come back and play for the Knighthawks in 2009. After two years he was set to retire again, but changed his in mind last fall when asked by Knighthawks owner Curt Styres to return and help mentor some of the younger players being brought into the organization.
However, it was clear the 43-year-old forward had very little left, and in two games this season he had a goal and four assists and wasn’t getting a regular offensive shift.
Gary Gait achieved unprecedented success in the game of lacrosse as a player and we were very fortunate to have had him play in Rochester the past three years,” said Knighthawks president Lewis Staats.
In all, Gait played 24 games for Rochester, scoring 39 goals and 35 assists for 74 points.
He finishes his NLL career — during which he played for seven franchises — ranked second in goals (635) and points (1,135), trailing Buffalo’s John Tavares in both categories.
Gait won three NLL championships, was the league MVP six times, was an All-Pro 15 seasons, led the NLL in goals and points seven times each, and as coach he guided Colorado to the Champions Cup in 2006.
In college at Syracuse, Gait was a three-time first-team All-American who led the Orange to three consecutive national championships.
Before taking the job at his alma mater to coach the women’s team, he held that position at the University of Maryland and led the Lady Terps to seven straight national titles.
The game will miss him,” said Rochester Knighthawks captain Shawn Williams.

- by Sal Maiorana

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