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Knighthawks Name Paul Gait Head Coach

12/26/2008, 9:59am EST
By National Lacrosse League

Gait brothers to be reunited in Rochester

The Rochester Knighthawks named Paul Gait the fifth head coach in franchise history today at a press conference at The Blue Cross Arena. Paul is reunited with his twin brother, Gary, who came out of retirement to play for Rochester this past October. Paul begins his professional coaching career in 2009, replacing departed Head Coach Paul Suggate. "I am very happy having been offered this position and am looking forward to a great season and a great start to my coaching career," said Paul Gait. "I finally have had some time to get back into the sport I love and the sport in which I work in every day. To be back involved with players again is going to be a great situation. I missed it a lot."


Paul Gait, one of five members of the Inaugural Class of the NLL Hall of Fame, was named Head Coach of the Rochester Knighthawks today at a press conference at Blue Cross Arena.

The Rochester Knighthawks named Paul Gait the fifth head coach in franchise history today at a press conference at The Blue Cross Arena. Paul is reunited with his twin brother, Gary, who came out of retirement to play for Rochester this past October. Paul begins his professional coaching career in 2009, replacing departed Head Coach Paul Suggate.

"I am very happy having been offered this position and am looking forward to a great season and a great start to my coaching career," said Paul Gait. "I finally have had some time to get back into the sport I love and the sport in which I work in every day. To be back involved with players again is going to be a great situation. I missed it a lot."

"Paul brings a resume full of lacrosse success both on and off the floor," said Knighthawks General Manager Regy Thorpe about Paul Gait, who is the president of deBeer Lacrosse. "He is a very well respected lacrosse icon that guys will have immediate respect for and rapport with. He will transfer his lacrosse knowledge to his players and lead the coaching staff. I know the players, staff and organization are excited to have him come on board to help us in our quest for the Cup."

The National Lacrosse League Hall of Famer and 11-time All-Pro returns to the Knighthawks, where he played three seasons (1995-97) and helped the franchise win its first championship in 1997. He also earned the team's MVP award that season as he completed his Knighthawks career with 87 goals and 58 assists in just 27 games.

Those three seasons were part of an unprecedented 13-year playing career that began in 1991 and ended in 2005. Gait played in 128 regular season games for teams in Detroit, Philadelphia, Rochester, Syracuse, Washington and Colorado. In Syracuse, he was also the Director of Player Personal. He won titles in 1991 (Detroit), 1994 (Philadelphia) and 1997 (Rochester) and was named the league's MVP in 2002. Further, he was an eight-time First Team All-Pro and a three-time Second Team All-Pro. He still ranks third all-time in league history in goals (410) and eighth in points (712).

Gait led the league in goals in four seasons (1991, 1992, 1994, and 2002). He was also outstanding in the playoffs, scoring a record-setting eight goals in the 1994 Championship Game for the Philadelphia Wings, the most goals ever scored in a league championship game. Gait also holds the record for most career championship game goals with 23. After retiring following the 2002 season, Gait, made a brief comeback with the Colorado Mammoth in order to play again professionally with his brother Gary before Gary's retirement in 2005.

"We are very excited to be introducing Paul Gait as our new head coach today. Needing to fill this position, only two weeks before our season gets underway, presented a challenge for sure," said Knighthawks President Lewis Staats. "Having Paul available and agreeing to come on board with all his experience both on and off the floor will make this transition a lot easier. And finally, I'm sure the opportunity to coach his brother made his decision a little easier as well."

To go along with his three NLL titles, Gait captured an additional nine championships in his career. He earned a Minto Cup in 1998 with Esquimalt-Victoria Legion, and won four Mann Cups: 1990 with Brooklin, 1994 and 1995 with Six Nations and 1999 with Victoria. In 2001, Gait helped the Long Island Lizards win the inaugural Major League Lacrosse championship. At the collegiate level, he earned first-team All-America honors from 1988 to 1990 and helped Syracuse win three straight national championships.

He was named the NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player in 1989 and was named to the USILA North-South All-Star Game in 1990. Gait played for the Canadian National Team in the ILF World Championships in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002, earning All-World recognition in 1994. Lacrosse Magazine named him to its All-20th Century Team and the NCAA named him to its 25th Anniversary Team. In 2003-04, he was named to the Knighthawks' All-Time Team. In 2005, both brothers were inducted into the United States Lacrosse National Hall of Fame. In 2006, both Paul and Gary were among the five charter members to be voted into the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame. In addition, he was named to the Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

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