WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Season after season, the years - and the wins just piled up.
"It hadn't been any grand plan to be here forever or stay as long as I have," William & Mary head football coach Jimmye Laycock said Tuesday - four days before coaching the final game of his 39-year career. "It's been a whole bunch of one years. Just do the best you can for one year and get ready for the next year."
But this time, there is no next year.
In August, Laycock announced 2018 would be his 39th and final season at William & Mary - ending the career of the nation's longest-tenured Division I head football coach. Saturday, when the Tribe host rival Richmond in its season finale - Laycock will coach his 445th and final game.
“Coaching the William & Mary program is a tremendous honor,” Laycock said in August. “I have always taken a great deal of pride in leading my alma mater and have been grateful for the opportunity to work with such tremendous young men. Any success we have had is shared among all the great assistant coaches and the thousands of outstanding student-athletes who have come through our program."
Overall, 40 former Tribe players have signed professional contracts in the NFL since Laycock took the helm in 1980. More impressively, the Tribe’s six NFL draft picks since 2009 ranks second in the entire FCS and behind only Virginia and Virginia Tech in the Commonwealth. The Tribe is well represented in the pro ranks, with seven former William & Mary players on NFL rosters during the last year.
Laycock’s connection with the NFL doesn’t end there, as his remarkable influence is also evident in his impressive and vast coaching tree that extends into the highest levels of football. Two of his former players are currently head coaches in the NFL – Mike Tomlin ’95 (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Sean McDermott ’98 (Buffalo Bills). Earlier this year, Tomlin - the youngest coach to ever win a Super Bowl, said Laycock is his blueprint.