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Wednesday, Feb 07, 2024 at 10:00 am

John Odierna Brings Impact With Jaspers to the Orange

By Sam Corcoran | @The_SamCorcoran

SAM CORCORAN: Syracuse Defensive Coordinator John Odierna’s impact can already be felt through six months with the Orange.

GARY GAIT: Oh, they… they love him. You know, Coach Odierna really relates well to the players.

CORCORAN: When former D-C Dave Pietramala left S-U to take the same role at U-N-C, Gary Gait wasted no time bringing Odierna to the 3-1-5 and creating a smooth transition.

CADEN KOL: It was seamless. Both [Odierna and Pietramala] obviously fantastic coaches, so it was awesome to welcome Coach Odierna.

CORCORAN: Syracuse’s game on Friday against Manhattan means a great deal for Coach O. The Orange defensive coordinator resigned as Jaspers head coach in July to join the ‘Cuse. Odierna left behind the program he helped rebuild, create tight bonds and one with players who’d go to war for.

LIAM WALSHE: Go in his office, we can either talk lacrosse or we would be talking about “Entourage”… like… just stuff like that. That, I guess, relationship from coach to the player is just very important. I think that helped me a lot.

CORCORAN: Odierna served as the Jaspers’ D-C for seven years beginning in 2016. But in 2022, when Head Coach Drew Kelleher was tagged as UMass Lowell’s head man, Walshe and his teammates knew who they wanted to lead their program.

WALSHE: Me and a bunch of the fifth-years were talking and we actually sent an email to the athletic director putting in a great word for him, and… not just a fifth-years, but everyone on our team was hoping that Coach O would get that spot.

CORCORAN: That unity in support of Coach Odierna has continued at Syracuse, and Coach O has replicated the same unity within his defense

GAIT: Coach O always says, you know, it’s their defense. You know, they’re on the field; they got to make the plays.

KOL: He brings a lot of positivity to the program, letting guys play loosely and free, and I think it’s great for our younger guys just to express themselves on the field.