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Coaching the Tribe


At the time of this interview, Head Coach, Michael London was one week from the collegiate national signing date. Recruits, from high schools across the country, will formally declare the schools they will attend. This return to the home of his first full time coaching job, the first being as an assistant coach thirty years earlier, facilitates closeness with his parents who still reside in the Hampton area. The opportunity to lead the Tribe, for his second season, has multiple blessings. Blessings are something Coach London has had a hard time keeping count of, over the years. 

London recounts being released from the Dallas Cowboys, in 1983. It was then that he began exploring a career as a law enforcement officer, in Richmond, Virginia. When Richmond was one of the violent crime leaders in our country, then “Officer London” faced a life threatening event of his own changing the trajectory of his future. The London Family was challenged again when their daughter, Tycinn, was diagnosed with the blood disease known as Fanconi anemia. After extensive treatment and chemotherapy, a long shot match was found for a bone marrow transplant in none other than London himself. Tycinn has made a full recovery, and is pursuing her graduate degree with Lynchburg University. 

More impressive than the accolades accrued on the field, is his focus on building men who will contribute to society beyond athletics. Coach London employs three specific standards. The first is simply to show up to class. The second standard is to show class. “Showing class extends beyond how one conducts themselves in the face of adversity. People truly show themselves in how they shoulder success.” The third standard of the Tribe Football Camp is to treat others with dignity and respect. “We all have the ability to escalate or de escalate a situation with our words. We can encourage or discourage, and we simply cannot forget the way people are affected by the way you make them feel.” 

Coach London's “positive, glass half full outlook on life” is what he has always strived for. With the exception of one coaching position (Howard University), London has always been the first coach of color. The role of having young men in his care has always been larger than any label others may attempt to adhere to his nameplate. Linking arms with William and Mary’s first female President, as well as Athletic Director, is simply a testimony to the growth being experienced across the academic landscape. London counts himself fortunate to be invited to earn a living shaping young hearts and minds through the sport of football.

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