William & Mary football to play at Stanford in 2020

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – William & Mary Director of Athletics Samantha K. Huge announced Thursday that the Tribe football team will travel to Stanford University in 2020 to take on the Cardinal.  It will be the first meeting on the gridiron between the schools, which both have been playing football for more than a century.

“The game will help share the William & Mary brand around the nation, and align us with a Stanford program that we see as the gold standard for a university that does it the right way,” said Huge.  “We share a commitment for athletic excellence without compromising the high academic standards of our respective universities.  I am thrilled with the opportunity to provide our student-athletes, alumni and fans with the incredible experience of taking on one of the nation’s best football programs in an amazing setting.”

The Stanford Cardinal helmet. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The match-up will be the first football game that William & Mary has played in California, and the farthest west the team has traveled since playing at the University of Oklahoma in 1951.  The game will also mark the first meeting between a current PAC-12 school and William & Mary and only the second meeting between Stanford and a school from the state of Virginia (Virginia Tech in the 2011 Orange Bowl).

“Playing games against high-profile FBS competition like Stanford is an important part of the experience for our players,” remarked Tribe Head Coach Jimmye Laycock, the longest tenured head coach in Division I Football.  “This agreement is a strong statement of the commitment we are making to providing our players with a first-class experience and I am confident it will also be an asset in our recruiting efforts.”

William & Mary’s football program has claimed a total of nine conference football championships during Laycock’s tenure, the most recent coming in 2015.  He has also led the program to NCAA post-season play a total of 10 times.  Stanford can boast of two NCAA Championships (1926 and 1940), while it has claimed 15 conference titles during its long football history.

In addition to the program’s success during Laycock’s impressive 38-year tenure at W&M, he has one of the nation’s most impressive coaching trees.  Highlighting this list is a pair of former W&M team captains – Mike Tomlin ’95 (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Sean McDermott ’98 (Buffalo Bills) – who both currently are head coaches in the NFL, while Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn was an assistant on Laycock’s staff in 1994.   Currently, no fewer than 12 former players or coaches hold positions on NFL coaching staffs/front offices.

Head coach Jimmye Laycock speaks to the officials. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

Former Tribe players have also been well represented on NFL rosters during Laycock’s tenure, as he has helped 38 former standouts earn contracts with NFL teams. Additionally, the program has produced six NFL Draft picks since 2009 – a figure that ranks second nationally in the FCS and third in the state of Virginia (behind only Virginia and Virginia Tech).

W&M Athletics has achieved the highest federal graduation rate among public universities since 2004-05, while Stanford has earned the top rate among private universities every year since 2011-12 (and No. 1 overall, seven of the 12 total years since 2004). Stanford is widely regarded as one the world’s leading universities, while W&M is among the top public universities in the nation.

In addition to the game at Stanford, the Tribe has an FBS school on its future schedules through the 2021 season, as it will travel to a pair of in-state ACC programs in both 2018 and 2019, at Virginia Tech and Virginia, respectively.  W&M will make the return to Charlottesville for the 2021 season, as well.