Competitive Excellence: Tribe athletics director reflects on 21-year journey at W&M

W&M Director of Athletics Terry Driscoll discusses his time at the university and the transformational impact of private giving.

News List

Nov. 28

by Ashley K. Speed

William & Mary Director of Athletics Terry Driscoll’s tenure has been filled with one accomplishment after another: 59 Colonial Athletic Association titles, 11 top-100 rankings in the Directors’ Cup and 131 all-time league championships — more than any other university in the CAA.

He is also the longest-tenured athletics director in the history of the CAA. In June, Driscoll will retire after 21 years at the university to spend more time with his family.

But Driscoll doesn’t talk about the accomplishments and milestones that occurred on his watch while reflecting on his time at William & Mary. Instead, he mentions the people who worked beside him and helped to make them possible.

“I will miss the people the most,” Driscoll said. “People in this department are very committed and willing to be a part of a team. Everyone understands that whether they are the lead person on a project or a contributor, things don’t happen without them being a part of it.” 

A major priority for Driscoll and his staff is ensuring that the university attracts top athletes who have the athletic skills as well as the intellect to succeed at the university. Private funding is essential to accomplishing this goal.

Under Driscoll’s direction, the Committee on Competitive Excellence completed a report in 2015 which highlights funding needs for scholarships, operating expenses and facility improvements. The report serves as a blueprint for Tribe Athletics to make the best use of limited resources.

“This gives us a long-term strategic plan where each sport receives support,” Driscoll said. “This is a plan that fits with where we are right now, yet is flexible enough if modifications need to be made. The fundamental goal is for every student-athlete to have a championship experience.” 

Two projects have been completed since the release of the report: the renovation of the 81-year-old Zable Stadium and the completion of the Plumeri Indoor Baseball Practice Facility. The completion of both projects is an example of one of the report’s recommendations, which states that high-quality facilities are necessary to provide Tribe athletes with the best environment for competitive success.

A Zable Stadium dedication ceremony was held last month during a Tribe football game. The renovation was made possible through generous gifts from the late Walter J. Zable ’37, LL.D. ’78, James W. McGlothlin ’62, J.D. ’64, LL.D. ’00, Frances G. McGlothlin ’66 and Hunter Jones Smith ’51. The stadium’s new state-of-the-art press box was funded by a gift from John L. Dawkins ’51 and June Lochenour Dawkins ’48.

Another prominent campus facility, William & Mary Hall, was recently renamed Kaplan Arena in honor of Jane Thompson Kaplan ’56 and Jim Kaplan ’57, who have shown unwavering financial support to the university through the years. 

Tribe Athletics has outlined several priorities in the For the Bold campaign, which includes bolstering scholarships aid, enhancing coaching support and improving buildings and facilities.

“When you create an endowed scholarship, you’re not only impacting one person, you’re impacting the lives of so many talented students,” Driscoll said. “If you established a scholarship 10 years ago, you are helping at least 10, maybe 20 student-athletes. Scholarships allow us to attract and recruit the very best students.”

As part of the campaign, Tribe Athletics seeks to raise $145 million to help advance competitive excellence and to provide an environment in which student-athletes thrive. So far, $116 million of that goal has been raised through the campaign.

“The success of Tribe Athletics would not be possible without the constant support of donors who have elevated our game both on and off the field,” Driscoll said.