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Coaches reunite 23 years after competing against each other under Dome lights

Twenty-three years after competing against one another in the Carrier Dome, two of the most successful coaches in their respective sports have both found themselves back in Syracuse.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Twenty-three years after competing against one another in the Carrier Dome, two of the most successful coaches in their respective sports have both found themselves back in Syracuse.

New coach of the Syracuse Crunch hockey team Jon Cooper and Syracuse University women’s lacrosse coach Gary Gait have more in common than just their success.

The last time the two men met was 1989 as college lacrosse players. Jon Cooper was playing for Hofstra, while Gait was playing for Syracuse University when they competed inside the Carrier Dome.

“In the Dome, after the game, post game that evening. I think we spent the night. We had a great time,” said Gait.

Their lives never intertwined again until Tuesday.

After some time away, Gait, arguably the greatest lacrosse player of all time, is now back in Syracuse coaching the women’s team at his alma mater.

Cooper, also successful on the ice and on the field, has turned to hockey.

The Crunch’s new coach has one of the best American Hockey League seasons in history and a league championship to his credit.

“I think it’s remarkable. Just the way our lives have kind of circled back and now we’re both in Syracuse,” said Cooper. “To tell you the truth, I haven’t seen him in 23 years and we’re just talking about the same things like it’s been three months.”

"Have fun, enjoy it. It's about the people here and you're going to find people are great and your kids are going to enjoy living here,” Gait said.

Cooper’s Crunch are off to a league best 4-0-1 start. Gait’s team just finished its fall season after finishing runner-up to the national champion last fall.

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