In the Syracuse Orange lacrosse programs, the word ‘legend’ is ubiquitous.
It kind of comes with the territory of being the most successful and decorated college lacrosse program in history.
And yet, even by Syracuse standards, the word ‘legend’ is going to be used an awful lot on a Sunday in the Carrier Dome that is overflowing with historical and present-day Orange lacrosse.
The day features an astonishing lineup, with a top-10 men’s lacrosse game and a top-5 women’s lacrosse game being surrounded by two jersey honorings and a Ring of Honor induction. The names Roy Simmons, Jr., Gary Gait and Katie Rowan, already having achieved legendary status, will become forever immortalized inside the Carrier Dome.
There’s a ton going on in one day, so let’s go through it chronologically:
Gary Gait Jersey Honoring — 11:37 AM
The first event of the day will focus on current men’s lacrosse head coach Gary Gait, whose imprint on SU lacrosse is as indelible as anybody’s in program history. Appropriately, he becomes the first men’s lacrosse player to have his jersey “retired”.
Gait is, in the eyes of most, the greatest lacrosse player of all time. At Syracuse, he was a four-time All-American, three-time NCAA Champion and two-time National Player of the Year. It’s more than just the accolades when it comes to Gait, though. The way he played, with creativity and flare, revolutionized the way the game was played and changed the sport forever.
It’s important to note that, while Gait’s jersey will henceforth hang from the Carrier Dome rafters, that his jersey is not actually being retired in the traditional sense. In keeping with school tradition, Gait’s jersey will be “honored” by the school, but the No. 22 will continue to be worn whenever deemed appropriate. The same is true for Katie Rowan’s No. 21.
No. 9 Syracuse men’s lacrosse vs. No. 1 Maryland — 12 PM
What an incredible gauntlet of emotions that Gary Gait is going to be experiencing here, going straight from seeing his jersey unveiled high up at the top of the Dome to re-focusing on facing the No. 1 team in the nation in a matter of minutes. Quite the task for your second game as head coach.
Roy Simmons, Jr. Ring of Honor Induction — Halftime of men’s game
Simmons, Jr. is set to become the sixth member of the Syracuse Athletics’ Ring of Honor, and the first since the initial five were inducted as the inaugural inductees. Those five are Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, Jim Boeheim and Pearl Washington.
Simmons, one of the most legendary coaches in the history of the game, won six NCAA championships in his illustrious head coaching career. It was under his leadership that Syracuse became one of the powers of the sport, setting them up to ultimately become the most decorated program in NCAA history.
Katie Rowan Jersey Honoring — 3:34 PM
Simply put, Katie Rowan is one of the best players in Syracuse and women’s lacrosse history. Her 396 career points is not only the best total in SU program history, it’s also the seventh best total in NCAA Division I history. Before Alyssa Murray, Michelle Tumolo, Kayla Treanor and the current roster of stars came along, it was Rowan who lit up the scoreboard in leading the Orange women to their first significant postseason success under Gary Gait.
You’re just not going to find too many players more decorated than Katie Rowan. And now, she adds the ultimate honor to her incredible list of career accomplishments.
Rowan will become the first women’s lacrosse player and only the second woman to have her jersey honored/retired by Syracuse.
No. 3 Syracuse women’s lacrosse vs. No. 4 Stony Brook
The Orange women will face their toughest test of the young season to date when the fourth-ranked Seawolves arrive for a mid-afternoon battle to finish off this incredible day at the Dome.
Incredible evenings celebrating legends of the sport.— Syracuse Athletics (@Cuse) February 20, 2022
Can't wait to raise some jerseys tomorrow and add another name to the Syracuse Athletics Ring of Honor.@CuseMLAX at Noon@CuseWLAX at 4
Be sure to arrive early for the ceremonies. pic.twitter.com/pBnwbTEODM
We can only hope that the play on the field will be able to live up to the glorious ceremonies before and between the games.
Although if they don’t, it certainly won’t take away from a legendary day in the Carrier Dome.