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Syracuse Director of Athletics John Wildhack addressed the media about the state of SU Athletics on Tuesday morning. Wildhack touched on capacity limits in the Carrier Dome this fall, plans for Jim Boeheim’s successor and the search for a new women’s lacrosse coach.
Here’s everything you need to know from Tuesday’s press conference:
COVID-19 season recap and new hires
Wildhack grinned when he announced 90% of all scheduled athletic competition was played this year. Last June, SU Athletics was uncertain about what sports would look like in the fall — if fans would be allowed to attend, if full schedules would be played and how COVID-19 protocol would work in collegiate athletics. One year later, SU Athletics and Wildhack applauded a season of safe competition.
Before Wildhack took the podium, Syracuse announced that Dave Pietramala will join Gary Gait’s staff as Syracuse’s new defensive coordinator, replacing Lelan Rogers. Wildhack congratulated Pietramala on his new position.
Full return to the Carrier Dome?
In the midst of Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing that the New York State Fair will return to 100% capacity this fall and that New York state has hit a 70% vaccination rate, Wildhack said he’s unsure if the state will allow full capacity at sporting events next fall, but he expressed optimism in having the largest number of fans in attendance in the Dome.
“We don’t know yet whether we’ll take guidance from the state department of health and Onondaga County, whether we’re in the clear to have 100 percent attendance in the Dome,” Wildhack said. “But when you see those two announcements on consecutive days, that’s nothing but positive, positive news in terms of full capacity in the fall.”
He encouraged fans to get vaccinated to increase chances of full capacity in the Dome this fall.
Post-Jim Boeheim era
After Duke men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski and North Carolina’s Roy Williams announced their respective retirements, questions about Boeheim’s future were raised at the press conference.
Wildhack said there’s a list of possible internal and external candidates but gave no indication on hiring preferences or timeline. He highlighted associate head coach Adrian Autry and assistant coach Gerry McNamara’s successes and said, “They will both be head coaches someday. I firmly believe both will be successful.”
He also mentioned Gait’s hiring. While Gait’s an alumnus of the program, he was hired because he was the best person to lead SU men’s lacrosse, Wildhack said.
“We’ll apply the same criteria to our men’s basketball program,” he said.
The search for Gait’s successor
Syracuse women’s lacrosse is searching for a new head coach after Gait became the men’s head coach last week. There is a “short list of candidates” for the role, and interviews will begin this week, Wildhack said.
“We are very pleased with the list,” Wildhack said. “We’ve done a lot of research and thorough vetting over the past several days.”
Last week, Wildhack said there was no timetable for the hire, but SU wants to move quickly and conduct a thorough search. Assistant coach Caitlin Defliese is serving as the interim head coach following Gait’s transition.
The post John Wildhack talks new hires, Carrier Dome capacity limits at press conference appeared first on The Daily Orange.