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Syracuse men’s lacrosse: Orange hire Manhattan’s John Odierna as defensive coordinator

The Jaspers’ former head coach is making the move upstate to join the ‘Cuse coaching staff.

2018 NCAA Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship - First Round

After a period of almost three weeks, Gary Gait has filled the vacancy on his coaching staff.

The Syracuse Orange have hired Manhattan head coach John Odierna as the team’s new defensive coordinator, in a move that was announced late on Friday.

Odierna just completed his first year as Manhattan’s head coach in 2023, where he led the Jaspers to a 10-5 record and a share of the MAAC regular season title on his way to being named the MAAC Coach of the Year. Of particular note is the fact that Manhattan’s defense was No. 1 in the country last season, surrendering only 8 goals per game to top Division I.

Before taking over the head coaching position, Odierna spent the previous seven seasons as the Jaspers’ defensive coordinator and helped to establish the program’s defense among the statistical best in recent years.

In 2021, they finished 10th nationally in giving up just 9.7 goals per game. In back-to-back seasons in 2018 and 2019, he guided the Jaspers to having the No. 1 man-down defense in all of Division I.

A 2011 graduate of Gettysburg College, Odierna began his coaching career at Division III’s Colby College. After two years there, he spent two more years at Division III’s Stevens Institute of Technology, where he served as both the defensive and offensive coordinators. From there, he made the move to Manhattan, where he’s been the past eight seasons.

As Ty Xanders from Inside Lacrosse points out above, it’s going to be very interesting what Odierna is able to do working against tougher competition, but also working with higher-caliber talent.

The Orange are returning a large portion of their defensive unit from last season, headlined by goalie Will Mark, and are welcoming a whole handful of new faces into the program including redshirt freshman stud close defender Riley Figueiras as well as four graduate defensive players from the transfer portal.

Congratulations and welcome to Syracuse, John!