Mike London announced his departure from Howard after the 2018 season and was tasked with rebuilding William & Mary into a CAA contender.
When London arrived, William & Mary’s last winning season was 2015 in which Jimmye Laycock won the CAA championship and led the Tribe to the second round of the FCS playoffs.
The challenge for London was immense as he was tasked with taking over the program after Laycock, who was the face of the William & Mary football program from 1980-2018. London spent four seasons as an assistant under Laycock from 1991-94 as the defensive line coach.
London earned his first head coaching opportunity at Richmond in 2008. He immediately made an impact as he led the Spiders to the first FCS national championship in school history with a 24-7 win over Montana.
He continued his positive momentum the next season by winning the CAA conference championship and leading the Spiders to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. Over two seasons, London won 24 games, and the Spiders finished in the Top 5 in the FCS Top 25 poll in back-to-back seasons.
London then spent six seasons at Virginia after his two years at Richmond. He was named the ACC Coach of the Year in 2011 as he led the Cavaliers to a second-place finish in the Coastal Division and a Chick-Fil-A Bowl appearance.
He returned to the FCS in 2017 and coached Howard for two seasons before accepting his current position at W&M. London led the Bison to one of the most impressive upsets in college football history in 2017. Howard entered its matchup against UNLV as 45.5-point underdogs and shocked the world with a 43-40 victory behind three touchdowns from Caylin Newton.
London has spent his first three seasons as HC at William & Mary building talent and cultivating his culture throughout the locker room. The Tribe entered the 2022 season with low expectations as W&M ranked fifth in the CAA predicted order of finish and received only two first-place votes.
The Tribe made an immediate statement with a Week 1 win over Charlotte, which was the first FCS win over an FBS program last season. It was the first FBS win for the Tribe since 2009 when W&M upset Virginia.
London led William & Mary to one of the best seasons in program history as the Tribe set school records for regular season wins (10) and road victories (6). The Tribe also tied the school record for wins in a season (11).
The next step for London is to sustain the high level of success that the Tribe achieved last season.
RELATED: 5 Offseason Questions For W&M
W&M returns multiple impact players for the 2023 season and will be primed to win back-to-back conference championships for the first time since 1934-35.
The Tribe defense will be led by one of the best defensive line duos in the country, as Nate Lynn and John Pius both return for the 2023 season. Pius finished second for the 2022 Buck Buchanan Award, and Lynn earned Stats Perform All-American honors last season. Pius and Lynn have combined for 53.5 career tackles for loss and 35 career sacks.
The top-three leading rushers return for the Tribe, including All-Conference running back Bronson Yoder. Malachi Imoh, Yoder, and quarterback Darius Wilson all surpassed 500 rushing yards in the 2022 season.
One of the biggest questions for the Tribe will be the wide receiver position, but JT Mayo, Tyler Rose, and DreSean Kendrick all return after being important contributors last season. Rose led the Tribe with 23.1 yards per reception last season.
Freshman All-American cornerback Jalen Jones and All-Conference cornerback Ryan Poole both return after stellar 2022 seasons. Jones and Poole combined for five interceptions and 18 pass breakups last season. Marcus Barnes will be the leader at the safety position after ranking second on the team in tackles last season.
The conference schedule lays out perfectly for the Tribe to repeat as conference champions. William & Mary only plays two of the Top 6 teams from the CAA last season, which is Elon (Sept. 30) and Richmond (Nov. 18). Five of the eight CAA teams that W&M plays next season had losing records in 2022.
Last season was a learning experience for the Tribe as London led them to the quarterfinals against Montana State, losing 55-7. William & Mary had very limited playoff experience on the roster, while the Bobcats had a roster full of players who made a run to the FCS national championship the year prior.
London spent four seasons laying the foundation at W&M, and last season was the first step into building a real championship contender in Williamsburg, Virginia. The locker room has now experienced the tough journey to a conference championship and suffered a tough learning experience in the FCS playoffs.
London’s experience reaching the pinnacle of FCS football will be integral as he continues to develop his next championship contender in the CAA. The stage is set for London to take the Tribe to the next step, which will be consistent on-field success and sustained success in the FCS playoffs.
After the departure of James Madison to the Sun Belt last season, many analysts speculated which program would take that step of being the next FCS national championship contender in the conference.
William & Mary will have their chance to take the throne under Mike London with another conference championship and FCS playoff run this season.