It seems probable that William & Mary’s next football coach will have some experience at the college because its academic standards and general culture set it apart from other CAA schools, and most other FCS schools. Familiarity with the regions the Tribe traditionally have recruited also seems likely.
Several current and former college coaches recently contacted about the search believe that Penn State receivers coach David Corley, the Tribe’s all-time leading passer and a former W&M assistant, and former Richmond and Virginia coach Mike London, also a former W&M assistant who is now Howard’s coach, have drawn the attention of Samantha Huge, W&M’s director of athletics.
The picture can change, they emphasized, as the fall progresses.
Huge made it clear in an Aug. 22 letter to “Tribe Faithful” that she has no interest in sharing information related to the search for Jimmye Laycock’s successor. There is no search committee. Laycock, 70 and in his 39th year, announced on Aug. 5 that this will be his final season as coach of his alma mater.
The process “cannot be conducted effectively in the public domain,” wrote Huge. She added that the letter would serve as “the only communication related to the search until the new coach is in place. In order to attract an exceptional pool, it’s critical to protect the confidentiality of potential candidates.”
According to Huge, W&M is not expected to hire a new coach until this season ends. The Tribe’s last regular-season game is Nov. 17.
Corley, 38, was a four-year starter for the Tribe from 1999 to 2002 and is a North Carolina native who was part of Laycock’s staff for six years on the offensive side before moving to Connecticut, Army and Penn State. Corley was inducted into W&M’s Hall of Fame in 2014.
London, who turns 58 on Oct. 9, is in his second season as Howard’s coach. Howard went 7-4 last year (6-2 MEAC) and is off to a 1-2 start this season, with losses at FBS members Ohio and Kent State. London attended Bethel High School in Hampton before playing defensive back at the University of Richmond. In his first season as a head coach on any level, he led the Spiders to the 2008 FCS national championship.
After two years and a 24-5 record at UR, London spent six seasons as Virginia’s coach (27-46, 14-34 ACC) and one as a Maryland assistant before taking over at Howard.
Corley and London are African-Americans. William & Mary has never employed an African-American head coach in a men’s sport.
Corley has no head coaching experience. In the CAA, Villanova’s Mark Ferrante and Maine’s Joe Harasymiak had no head coaching experience when they were elevated from staff positions to head coach at their schools in recent years. Laycock had no head coaching experience when he became W&M’s coach in 1980, and Sean McDonnell had no head coaching experience when he became New Hampshire’s coach in 1999.
The other eight CAA coaches were head coaches before assuming their current positions.
Huge said that through the search, she will consult “an informal group of advisers,” and about a half-dozen former players. She added that she also will seek input from “many successful alumni in the professional and college coaching ranks.”
Other former Tribe assistants who may receive consideration are Mississippi State defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and Wake Forest special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Wayne Lineburg. Indianapolis Colts secondary coach Alan Williams, 50 and a Norfolk native, is a former Tribe running back and assistant who has been an NFL assistant for 17 years.
Pete Lembo, 48, is a Georgetown graduate who led successful programs at Lehigh and Elon and also was Ball State’s coach. He is Rice’s associate head coach and special teams coordinator.