In his day, Gary Gait was the Michael Jordan of lacrosse. Players still attempt to emulate his “Air Gait” scoring move from behind the cage. Though he only played the 2001 season with the Lizards, he left an indelible mark on the franchise with his contribution to winning their first championship.
This #ThrowbackThursday, we salute Gary Gait and all of the 2001 Lizards.
At 34, Gary and his twin brother, Paul, were elder statesman of the Lizards who steamrolled the competition on the way to the regular season title. Gary, a Syracuse lacrosse standout, already had 10 years of professional experience in the National Lacrosse League. During Major League Lacrosse’s debut season in 2001, Gary Gait, who played attack, scored 30 goals in 14 games for the Long Island Lizards, who are now known as the New York Lizards.
With the help of Gary Gait on attack, the Lizards scored early and often in 2001. They finished the season with a league-best 244 goals as well as the division’s best record of 10-4.
In the 2001 MLL Playoffs, Gary and Paul combined for five goals against the Rochester Rattlers in an overtime victory. Paul also played a big role in bringing home the championship game for the Lizards. He had seven goals and one assist in the championship game against the Baltimore Bayhawks.
In his five MLL seasons, Gary scored 159 goals. He also recorded 62 assists playing for both the Lizards and the Baltimore Bayhawks. After leaving the Lizards at the end of 2001, Gary would go on to win two more MLL championships as a player-coach for the Bayhawks.
He currently serves as the women’s lacrosse coach at Syracuse University.
Gary Gait by the Numbers
- Four-time NCAA All-American
- Three NCAA Division I Championships
- NCAA Player of the Year 1988 & 1990
- In 18 National Lacrosse League seasons, Gait scored 635 goals and tallied 530 assists
- Three NLL Championships
- Three Major League Lacrosse Steinfeld Cups
- One World Championship