We’re not usually the site to wax philosophical on another team, or another team’s coach, but I’m putting in an exception for the last remaining Virginia college football giant, William and Mary coach Jimmye Laycock. Laycock has been the head coach of the Tribe since time immemorial- AKA when my dad was in college. 1980 to now, announcing in August that this would be his last year.
Laycock’s never been anything to sniff at, especially at the FCS level. A Virginian himself, he coaches at his alma mater- like former Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer. That’s got to be special for someone that has rattled off an impressive 246 wins over his long tenure. The record, by the by, is 246-189-2 spanning 39 seasons if you include this one. That’s a long time, people, longer than almost anyone has had in this business barring longtime mainstays like Beamer, Paterno, Bowden, and even legends like Tom Osborne and Bear Bryant. He passes all of them but Paterno. Between both FCS and FBS, he’s been the longest tenured coach. Laycock has produced NFL head coaches, too- Sean McDermott and Dan Quinn both have been on his staff as their first job: Quinn was a defensive line coach and McDermott a graduate assistant. Mike Tomlin was a former player of his. Other players include current NFLers B.W. Webb, DeAndre Houston-Carson, Tre McBride, Luke Rhodes, and former NFL players Darren Sharper (ed. note: stinks that probably one of their best alumni is a scum, but he deserves to be mentioned as a football player) and Derek Cox. It’s crazy to think he comes directly from the coaching tree of old-school big time coaches like Marv Levy and Lou Holtz. But here he is, still coaching, still kicking. Of all the seasons he’s coached, only in 11 did he have a losing record- and 28 for 39 for a smaller school is saying something.
While Virginia Tech has a record of 41-18-4 against William and Mary, of those games only eight have been against Laycock. He has lost all of them. At a smaller school, that’s expected. But the big thing has always been that Laycock and Beamer have been longstanding friends, and legends in their own right, even at different levels. Laycock will probably walk into the College Football Hall of Fame if only for volume and longevity. It’s been amazing how long and how important Laycock has been to Tribe Football, and with his retirement, he’ll join Beamer and Welsh as the most impactful college football coaches in the history of the commonwealth.
William and Mary will of course have all kinds of honors for someone that’s given them 10 playoff appearances, 7 conference titles, and a whole lot of their history. Heck, they’ve already named their football center after him and he’ll probably get a Laycock Way treatment, too. Even though I am not a W&M alum, I can’t help but congratulate him on a long running, very successful career. I wish him a happy retirement and hope that he’ll get proper recognition for what he poured into a program that he loved. We here at Virginia Tech, of all fanbases, should understand that.