As a player and assistant coach, Bob Solderitch spent 32 of his 56 years connected to William & Mary football. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone — other than Jimmye Laycock, of course — who served longer.
Following Solderitch's death last spring, a plan was put in place to honor his memory. Fittingly, his name will be displayed in the Jimmye Laycock Football Center.
The entranceway is now the Bob Solderitch Atrium, with gold-colored lettering along the staircase. An anonymous gift of $100,000 set everything in motion. W&M also set a fundraising goal of $650,000 for the program — 65 was Solderitch's number when he played — and it was easily cleared.
The unveiling will be Saturday at 11 a.m., four and a half hours before kickoff of the Tribe's home game against Richmond. Solderitch's family will participate in the pre-game coin toss and be recognized during the game.
Solderitch came to William & Mary from Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania, in 1982. He was a three-year starter at center and team captain as a senior.
After graduation in 1986, Solderitch signed as a free agent with the Indianapolis Colts. He returned to William & Mary as a graduate assistant from 1986-90.
After earning his M.B.A. in 1990, Solderitch was hired as a full-time assistant at the Apprentice School in Newport News. In 1994 and '95, he was an assistant coach at VMI.
In '96, Solderitch came back to William & Mary as the offensive line coach. He stayed in that position, while also being promoted to assistant head coach, until Laycock's retirement after the 2018 season.
"He was an integral part of William & Mary football for a long, long time," Laycock said. "I don't think there's anybody I know who loved William & Mary and William & Mary football more than Soldy.
"Whether it was coaching the offensive line, whether it was recruiting, whether it was running the Colonial All-Pro Camp, whatever it was, he put everything he had into it. He really took pride in doing a good job. He was really proud to represent William & Mary."
Graeme Miller '85 '87 M.B.A., who played on the offensive line with Solderitch, praised his friend's commitment.
"Bob dedicated his adult life to William & Mary and Tribe football," Miller said. "From his teammates to the generations of players he coached, Bob was beloved and will be greatly missed.
"It's hard to think of what a fall Saturday in Williamsburg will be like without 'Soldy' intimately involved. His name being forever associated with Tribe football is fitting given his accomplishments as a player and commitment to the program over the years."