Just this week, William & Mary Athletics released a comprehensive strategy document, outlining a multitude of goals it wishes to accomplish by the year 2025; the strategy doc is chock full of interesting nuggets that describe the future of sport at our esteemed institution of higher learning.
And to make everyone’s lives here easier, and because we know that the vast majority of you probably don’t want to comb through all 23 pages (if you do, we’ll leave a link at the end of this article), we’ve gone ahead and plucked out some of the plan’s most compelling pieces.
So let’s get to it.
Focus on Winning: Directors’ Cup
This goal is straight to the point: W&M will win 35 combined CAA Championships by 2025. In addition, W&M wishes to vastly improve in the Directors’ Cup rankings; if you weren’t aware, points for the Directors’ Cup are based on order of finish in NCAA-sponsored leagues/championships. The better W&M teams do (men’s and women’s) in their respective leagues and in postseason play, the more points the school gets in Directors’ Cup standings.
In all, this timeline gives the Green and Gold roughly 6 years and 6 seasons of each sport (both men’s and women’s) to get the job done. Interestingly, W&M states that at least 5 of those championships must come from the three “most vital community building” sports in football and men’s and women’s basketball.
W&M will reportedly achieve this success through several avenues: new coaches that fit the culture, greater student athlete support in the form of academic and physical training resources, upgrades to facilities, and more.
Time will tell on this strategy — truthfully, time passing is the only way to see if these goals are met. It won’t happen overnight.
But who are we kidding, it would be great to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time (ever); it’s an understatement to say that we’re overdue.
If all these efforts result in more championships in the ‘Burg (without compromising our ethics and academic standards), we’re all for it. It’s a tall task, but it’s good to see real commitment to the cause stated so strongly and openly.
A New Woman’s Sport
BOOM. That. Just. Happened. In the near future, W&M will contemplate the creation of another women’s sport at W&M. While we’re not exactly sure how this will work in terms of funding and Title IX requirements, it’s nonetheless an excitement statement.
Further reading in the strategic document reveals that the school is interested in potentially elevating a current club sport at W&M, such as softball or rowing.
Softball makes total sense, with fellow CAA schools (JMU) entering the Softball NCAA Tournament every year — and seriously competing with legitimate, big-time sports schools.
Rowing also makes sense. As a small, highly academic school based right near the James River, W&M certainly fits the profile of a school that could be very good at rowing.
In all, we’re excited about the possibility of a new women’s sport at W&M, and look forward to hearing about the analyses to come.
While W&M giveth, W&M also taketh away. If you’re either a W&M swimmer or a fan of W&M swimming, this is not good news.
The writing seems to be written on the wall for the program; and in reading the strategy document, we got the vibe that W&M leadership may view swimming as an avenue to cut costs in pursuit of other athletic objectives.
Of course, this would not bode well for the Tribe’s goal of 35 championships by 2025, as both the men’s and women’s teams regularly bring championships home — all of that without a diving team (since our facilities don’t support diving).
Either way, this is a serious red flag for folks who are passionate about Tribe swimming, and certainly a story we’ll be following closely in the coming months.
Student Fees Limited
A hot-button issue for many schools and athletics programs in recent years, student fees for athletics funding will either be limited or reduced in coming years.
This should be good news for both students (who will hopefully pay less moving forward) and anyone else who has an issue with students “unwillingly” having to contribute to the funding of athletics.
Perhaps this is rightfully so. Especially at an academically-focused school such as W&M, where — and we hate to admit it — many students don’t even attend games, this should quiet some of their complaints.
Kaplan Arena Renovation
The Kaplan Arena renovation feels like something we’ve talked about for a long time now; however, when an earlier W&M Athletics strategy document was released in 2015 (under former AD Terry Driscoll), it was announced that Kaplan would either be renovated, or completely torn down and redone.
It is now officially the case that Kaplan will not be knocked down, and that it will instead be renovated by the year 2025.
While fundraising for this endeavor has not formally begun, this will be a massive and incredibly important undertaking for the Green and Gold’s athletics program.
Currently, just about every coach is housed there, in the depths of the building. Erected decades ago, Kaplan is certainly due for a much-needed facelift; but this is important not just for the facelift, but also for training purposes.
Many W&M teams are restricted in practice time due to the fact that a basketball practice facility doesn’t exist. It’ll be interesting to track the school’s progress on this all-important task in the years to come.
Dillard Complex Overhaul
Another facilities overhaul and another project that has been in the plans since 2015, the Dillard Complex (off Ironbound Road) will be completely redone. Track and field will be relocated there, and the complex will potentially include a new locker room, training area, and more.
While this may be slightly out of the way in relation to “main campus,” the Dillard Complex area has the potential to be another hub of W&M Athletics in Williamsburg.
It wouldn’t be hard to run a continuous shuttle to and from Dillard for athletes, and for athletes during potential games and sporting events — and that’s what would likely end up happening if and when these plans come to fruition.
Of course, we only scratched the surface of some of the most major points in the 2025 strategy document. One thing is clear: W&M Athletics Director Samantha Huge is not here to maintain the status quo; she has a serious mandate from William & Mary leadership to overhaul and recreate Tribe Athletics.
Folks will argue about some of the decisions, but a commitment to excellence in everything that the school does is something we won’t complain about — especially when it comes to our beloved Tribe.
if you’d like to learn more, and get the full, in-depth scoop, feel free to click on the document below!