The leadership at William & Mary eliminated men’s and women’s swimming this week. It was a sad day for thousands of alumni, athletes, coaches, parents, and support staff. To all of you (including friends at Tribe Gymnastics, Volleyball, and Track & Field) - I share your pain and frustration. It’s deflating to put so much time and effort into something only to see it undone in an instant. When I graduated in ’02 and started coaching, I dreamed of returning to W&M. I’m forever grateful that Terry Driscoll and his staff took a chance on me. While my 12 years were not without failures, I grew to love W&M and our program even more. I worked to uphold the legacy of Dudley Jensen and Wally Riley. I tried to capitalize on the foundation laid by my predecessors. I hoped to build something that generations of alumni could be proud to call their own. I can confidently say that for the most part, we did things the right way and added value to the College. Needless to say, the most important relationships in my life started at William & Mary. It’s where I met [my wife] Liz 21 years ago. Countless athletes, parents, and staff have become lifelong friends. The longer we stayed with the Tribe, the more it truly felt like our actual family. We shared our happiest and darkest moments with that family. It was home for our daughters. There were no bigger believers in “One Tribe, One Family” than Liz and me. Having that concept shattered is infuriating. Let me be clear – this decision was wrong. W&M has to do better. Yes, 23 sports is hard to sustain with the current financial model and the facility is not ideal. Yes, we’re facing an economic crisis. But those excuses are just that. Times of crisis demand innovation. The W&M leadership missed an opportunity to be different. They took the easy way out. They have failed me and all of you who hold the program dear.” (Continue reading in the comments)
The financial investment in men’s and women’s swimming is minimal. They save VERY little money by doing this. Annual giving is at an all-time high. The team wins. 8 titles since ‘15. This year’s team was the most nationally relevant team on campus. The GPA exceeds that of the general student body. The team is active in the community and raises money for the American Cancer Society. What more do you want?! It’s disheartening to know that while loyal alumni stand ready to fight to make Tribe Swimming self-sufficient, and allow it to continue to prosper, William & Mary is turning its back on them. We will not stop fighting. Alumni and parents - keep hope alive! I know the Tribe won’t go down without a fight. Regardless of the outcome, we must do everything we can support the current student-athletes.