The only bad thing about having a successful team is knowing how many other schools would love to hire away the person responsible. The Syracuse women's lacrosse team is going to the Final Four for the 2nd time in 3 years. While the program was on an upward swing before Gary Gait got there, he's the one who took the team to the next level and has sustained that success. Between his proven success and his larger-than-life status in the sport, he could probably have his pick of any other job he wanted. In women's lacrosse and possible even men's.
That's where the Maryland job comes in. Terrapins head coach Dave Cottle "resigned" after Maryland's 7-5 loss to Notre Dame this past weekend. Cottle's team had once again put together a solid regular season only to fall short of their goals and expectations in the post-season. A 99-45 record is great and probably would have meant a raise at about 90% of the programs in college lacrosse. But zero National Titles over a nine-year span is glaring for a program like Maryland.
Is it fair for Maryland to have such demanding standards of its coach? That's up for debate. Maryland hasn't played for a Title since 1998 and hasn't won one since 1975. For a program that wants to be mentioned in the same breath with Syracuse, Virginia, Hopkins and Princeton, that's not acceptable.
Then again Cottle did take the Terrapins to three Final Fours. Nothing to sneeze at. Though as previously mentioned, there's a very elite group of teams up at the top of college lacrosse and you can make the very clear argument that Maryland falls short of its "membership" these days. Programs like Duke and Cornell have caught up and even surpassed them in terms of post-season success.
The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston sees the firing as proof of Maryland's ignorance and sense of entitlement.
Cottle was a Baltimore native and Maryland was his dream job, so he didn't mind being underpaid by the university. The next coach won't see it that way — not if he is established. The problem at Maryland — and it has been this way for quite a while — is that athletic officials think it's their birthright to be in the Final Four every year, just because Maryland is the state's flagship university and the Terps play in the "mecca" of lacrosse.
Well, guess what? They're wrong.
He points out that Cottle's predecessor Dick Edell, who is revered in those parts, didn't win a title in the 18 years prior to Cottle's arrival either.
So where does Gary Gait come in? Well, where doesn't he come in? To replace a great coach like Cottle, Maryland is going to have to make a splash. They don't get much splashier in college lacrosse than Gary Gait. A proven winner at every level he's played and coached. And even though he's synonymous with Syracuse, he has a past with Maryland as an assistant coach for the women's team.
In the way-too-early process, his name has been thrown out there by multiple folks and rightfully so. We don't know Gait's plans for the future and whether or not he wants to transition into the men's coaching realm so it's all just guesswork at this point. We also don't know the specifics of his term, though you have to imagine Maryland could match and surpass any offer from SU if they really wanted to.
In the meantime Gait will attempt to build on his already-massive legacy this weekend as the Orange attempt to go to the their first National Title game. However the game turns out, hopefully it won't be their last with Gary Gait as coach.