Brady’s beginnings: LSU football’s Joe Brady, nation’s top assistant coach, started career at William & Mary

Posted at 11:51 PM, Dec 20, 2019
and last updated 2021-01-05 16:05:23-05

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - Wooden benches can be found at the entrance to William & Mary's football facility - a building named after longtime head coach Jimmye Laycock. However, benches are for sitting still. And during his 39-year head coaching career, Laycock didn't have much time for that.

"A coach told me one time, a lot of people think college coaching is getting on the plane with a briefcase and flying around the country," Laycock said smiling. "It’s a whole lot different than that."

But Laycock is now retired. And one of his former assistant coaches, Mike London, led the Tribe to its most wins since 2015 this year. But just because Laycock has stepped away, it doesn't mean he's through spending time with his players on the field.

Last Sunday night, with two of his four children by his side, Laycock was on-hand as the Pittsburgh Steelers squared-off with the Buffalo Bills in the first matchup in NFL history between two teams coached by former college teammates. The alma mater of Buffalo's Sean McDermott and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin? William & Mary - where they played for Jimmye Laycock.

"I could barely ever watch pro football much less hope to go to the games," Laycock recalled about his lengthy career as a coach. "I saw they were playing the Bills, so that’s probably a no-brainer. If I'm going to go to one, that's probably the one I need to go to. "Just seeing those guys and being so proud of what they’ve accomplished – it made me very proud."

With their win Sunday night in Pittsburgh, McDermott and the Bills clinched an NFL playoff spot. Tomlin and the Steelers can reach the postseason if they win their final two games. But this year, Coach Laycock has one more playoff pupil.

Joe Brady, the passing game coordinator for college football's top-ranked LSU Tigers - a team playing in the College Football Playoff semifinals December 28th, is not only a former coach at William & Mary - he's a former player, too.

"It was very evident to me he had a great future in coaching," Laycock said of Brady's time in Williamsburg. "Predicting what he’s done now? No - definitely not."

The 30 year-old Brady, whom Laycock hired immediately after his playing career was complete, recently won the Broyles Award - given annually to college football's top assistant coach. In his first season at LSU, Brady not only groomed the Heisman Trophy winner, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, he helped transform the Tigers offense into the most-explosive unit in college football.

"I see plays I recognize and see plays we were even running with Coach Laycock, here," Brady's former William & Mary teammate Bo Revell admitted.

Revell, currently William & Mary's inside linebackers coach - a job Brady held just five years ago, was the starting tight end for the Tribe when Brady was a scrappy, seldom-used receiver - catching three passes in four seasons from 2009 to 2012.

"With his academics and major, he could’ve done whatever he wanted in life," Revell said of Brady. "He was a business school guy, very smart."
But Brady is, indeed, using his William & Mary experience to succeed in the corporate world. It just happens to be in Jimmye Laycock's family business.

"I have four kids, but might have 1,000 others when you start thinking about all those players," Laycock pointed-out.
William & Mary, the world class university famous for its rigorous liberal arts and sciences curriculum, is becoming just as renown for grooming high-caliber coaches.

"That's why you came here," Revell said of William & Mary's football program. "Part of the allure of this is that you can be part of that path."
"You think about winning games and winning championships, but you're also looking at how you can influence people's lives," Laycock reflected.

"One of my goals and my main goal – was to have a football program that was comparable in reputation to the university. And I think we probably did that."

Indeed. So perhaps those benches outside the Jimmye Laycock Football Center are for the building's namesake to take his seat among the premier pigskin mentors in all of football.