William & Mary has hired a new football coach.
Mike London, a 58-year-old Hampton Roads native, will return to the area to lead William & Mary’s Tribe Athletics football following the retirement of 39-year coach Jimmye Laycock, William & Mary Athletics confirmed Monday.
London is the current head football coach for the Howard Bison football program at Howard University in Washington, D.C. and a former assistant coach at William & Mary.
London will be introduced during a news conference at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the President’s Suite at Zable Stadium.
“This is an exciting day for William & Mary, and we are thrilled to welcome Mike and his family back to Williamsburg,” W&M Athletics Director Samantha K. Huge said. “Mike embodies the values and character that we need to lead our football program forward, and he has demonstrated an ability to develop players and win championships over his nearly 30 years in coaching. His unique journey and commitment to the development of young men make him the perfect successor to carry on Coach Jimmye Laycock’s 39-year legacy while forging a new path for Tribe Football.
“Our dedicated and passionate advisory group consisting of Joe Montgomery, Kevin Rogers, Todd Stottlemyer, Shawn Knight, Kendrick Ashton, Mike Leach and Lang Campbell all unanimously supported the decision to hire Mike. I want to thank the scores of former players, in particular, Mike Tomlin and Sean McDermott during what has been a busy time, for their invaluable input during this process.”
London previously served as an assistant coach from 1991-1994 at William & Mary, as well as other schools including the University of Richmond, Boston College, University of Virginia and University of Maryland, College Park.
London went to Bethel High School in Hampton, moving on to play college football at the University of Richmond, then professional football with the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys.
“I am honored and excited to build on the incredible tradition of excellence Jimmye Laycock established,” said London. “He is a part of the foundation of my career and someone I have always respected. I sincerely appreciate President Katherine Rowe and Samantha Huge for making this opportunity possible. I look forward to working with them to pursue championships while developing student-athletes who will pursue excellence in the classroom and on the playing field.”
Having won a national title as head coach at the University of Richmond (2008) and having earned Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Coach of the Year honors at the University of Virginia (2011), London returns to Williamsburg after serving as Howard University’s head coach the last two seasons. London’s tenure leading the Bison was highlighted with his selection as a finalist for the 2017 STATS Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Eddie Robinson Award, which is bestowed upon the nation’s top head coach.
“We’re delighted to welcome Coach London home to William & Mary,” W&M President Katherine Rowe said. “He leads with integrity in every aspect of a football program. He embraces the distinctive rigor of William & Mary as well as our championship aspirations within those high standards.”
In addition to his selection as a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, London earned the 2017 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Regional Coach of the Year award after guiding Howard to a 6-2 conference record — the program’s first winning season since 2012. His inaugural campaign at HU was highlighted with a season-opening win at UNLV, which was lauded by ESPN as one of college football’s greatest upsets.
Prior to his two-year stint at HU, London served as an associate head coach/defensive line coach at the University of Maryland in 2016 where he helped lead the Terps to an appearance in the Quick Lane Bowl.
In addition to garnering ACC Coach of the Year honors at UVA in 2011, London led the Cavaliers to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. En route to earning the postseason bowl bid, he guided UVA to road wins at Miami and Florida State — becoming the first program in the nation to accomplish the feat in the same season.
London gained his first head coaching experience at Richmond, his alma mater, where he amassed a 24-5 record and guided the Spiders to the 2008 FCS national title during his initial campaign. His efforts were recognized by the AFCA, which selected him as the FCS National Coach of the Year. After leading the Spiders to an 8-0 start the following season, UR became just the third FCS school to receive a vote in the Associated Press (AP) Poll.
London landed the head coaching job at UR after an exceptional two-year stint as UVA’s defensive coordinator (2006-07). During his first season, the Cavaliers allowed just 289.5 yards per game — the program’s best figure in 27 years. The following season, London’s defense ranked sixth nationally in sacks and among the nation’s top 20 in scoring defense and rushing defense. London oversaw the development of an outstanding group of All-ACC honorees, highlighted by 2007 unanimous All-America standout Chris Long, who was the second overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Before returning to UVA, where he was an assistant from 2001 to 2004, London spent the 2005 season in the NFL as the Houston Texans’ defensive line coach. London’s first stint with the Cavaliers also included serving as the program’s recruiting coordinator from 2002 to 2004.
London, a native of Hampton, Virginia, began his coaching career as the outside linebackers coach at Richmond in 1988 before coaching the defensive line at William & Mary under Jimmye Laycock (1990-93). He then returned to UR for three more years (1994-96) as the outside linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator before taking on the defensive line coaching duties at Boston College from 1997 to 2000.
A standout defensive back at Richmond (1979-1982), London served as a team captain his senior season and was signed by the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent in 1983.
London graduated from UR in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a year later earned a degree in law enforcement from the Richmond Police Academy. He served as a detective from 1985 to 1987.
London and his wife, Regina, have four children: daughters Ticynn, Jaicyn and Madicyn and son Korben. He has three children from a previous marriage: sons Michael Jr. and Brandon, and daughter Kristen.