William & Mary football coach Jimmye Laycock doesn’t mince any words with potential student-athletes when they come to campus.
“’What you see is what you get,’” Laycock said he tells them.
What they’ll see starting in 2016 is a rejuvenated Walter J. Zable Stadium that will enhance their experience as student-athletes and the gameday experience of Tribe alumni and supporters.
The renovation project, which is expected to cost $27 million when completed, benefited from an initial $10 million gift in 2012 from the estate of the late Walter J. Zable ’37, LL.D. ’78. Complementing that gift with $6 million gifts are Hunter J. Smith ’51 and James W. '62, J.D. '64, LL.D. '00 and Frances G. McGlothlin ’66.
Their generosity enables the university to move forward with the project to enhance the 79-year-old football facility. Combined with the $11 million Jimmye Laycock Center, which opened in 2008, W&M will boast a complex on par with its competition in the Colonial Athletic Association – and beyond.
Laycock and his staff have already touched on the future facility with the high school students they are recruiting.
“We’ve talked in generalities that there are some things coming,” he said. “Recruiting these days is speeded-up a lot, therefore, you don’t have as much time as maybe you used to for really developing relationships. You’re bringing them in for a one-shot deal.”
The long-time coach said that the new-look stadium should only enhance the benefits The Laycock Center has provided the university.
“To be honest with you, (The Laycock Center) has helped us getting people interested that we didn’t know that much about or that we were not that involved with. (They call and say) ‘Hey, I’ve seen your stuff, and we’d really like to make a trip down there.’ And here they come.”
Laycock offered suggestions to representatives of BCWH Architects, and their associates, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, who are doing the design work for the project.
“I gave my opinion on what I felt like was needed, and let them run with it,” he said. “From what I’ve seen, they did a pretty nice job of keeping it all within the framework of how things are done here.”
Senior Tre’ McBride said the existence of The Laycock Center had a major impact on choosing to come to William & Mary. Laycock agreed that high school students are more keenly aware of a school’s facilities than they once were, and the existence of something more modern can only help.
“I just think it’s something that we needed to do,” he said.