PERRY, N.Y. – Syracuse head men’s lacrosse coach John Desko was selected as the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) Division I Coach of the Year on Tuesday, July 1. It marks the second time in school history a men’s lacrosse coach has earned the Morris Touchstone Award as the national coach of the year.
Desko guided the Orange to a record 10th NCAA title in 2008. Syracuse finished the season with a 16-2 mark and defeated Johns Hopkins, 13-10, on Memorial Day to claim the championship. He joins legendary mentor Roy Simmons Jr. (1980) as the only Morris Touchstone Award honorees in program history.
Desko engineered one of the most impressive turnarounds the sport has ever seen in 2008. After going 5-8 and missing the postseason in 2007, the Orange became the second team in NCAA history to win the national championship after not qualifying for the NCAA Tournament the previous season. The Orange tied the NCAA record for the best one-year win-loss improvement (+8.5) and its 16 victories matched the school record.
The championship was SU’s fourth under Desko. He trails only Simmons Jr. and Princeton head coach Bill Tierney on the list of Division I head coaches with the most titles. They each have six.
Desko owns an overall coaching record of 118-40 and he ranks second among active coaches in career winning percentage (.747). He’s fashioned a 23-5 all-time record in the postseason and is the NCAA career leader in tournament winning percentage at .821.
A graduate of West Genesee High School, Desko played for the Orange from 1976-79 and captained the team to its first NCAA playoff appearance as a senior. Following his playing career, Desko served as an assistant to Simmons for 19 seasons. Overall, he owns 10 NCAA Championship rings as a head coach and an assistant.
Desko has coached two Tewaaraton Trophy winners (Mike Powell and Mike Leveille) and 35 All-Americans in his 10 years at the helm of the Orange program.