Give & Go: Syracuse Coach John Desko



What’s your favorite sports movie?

“The Sandlot.” That’s a movie I showed my kids when they were younger.

Who’s your favorite athlete?

I didn’t really have the chance to see Jim Brown play, or that would have been my pick. I think growing up it had to be a basketball player, like John Havlicek, Doug Collins or Jo Jo White.

What is your favorite inspirational quotation?

If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.

What’s the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?

I’ve done a lot of stupid things — that’s a tough question.

What’s one thing that always puts you in a good mood?

That’s an easy answer. Winning.

What are your pregame rituals?

I used to have superstitions. Then we had the Gaits on our team and I realized that it didn’t matter what superstitions I had — we were going to win anyway.


What’s been the proudest moment of your career?

I’d say the 1983 NCAA championship. I think every one of the national titles has a special meaning to me for different reasons, but 1983 was the first. I started coaching in 1979 after graduating, and to win a national title four years later, that was special.

If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Chipotle. I’m not sure I’d want to eat anything particular for the rest of my life, so this way you can mix in the different meats, or get a bowl or salad and switch things up.

What’s on your bucket list?

Winning another national championship, but I don’t want to say just one.

OVERTIME from Chesapeake Bayhawks goalie Brian Phipps:

Who has had the biggest impact on your athletic career?

Roy Simmons Jr. I was fortunate enough to have tremendous coaches. I had Mike Messere — one of the greatest high school coaches of all time — as a freshman coach, Bill Wormuth as my varsity coach, and then had an opportunity to play under Coach Simmons here. Then I had the opportunity to stay on as an assistant under Coach Simmons for 19 years.

DOUBLE OVERTIME from Instagram user @amblax:

What’s your biggest piece of advice to younger coaches?

Be patient and watch a lot of film. Watch what other teams do to make themselves successful. Watch what they’re doing and learn from them.

Pose a question for our next subject.

What’s your favorite restaurant in your hometown?

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