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Steelers' Mike Tomlin pays homage to his retiring college coach, Jimmye Laycock

Chris Adamski
| Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, 3:03 p.m.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin urges on his team during practice Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018 at Saint Vincent College.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin urges on his team during practice Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018 at Saint Vincent College.

The man who helped shape the coaching style of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ current Super Bowl-winning coach is retiring.

And Mike Tomlin tried his best to express his appreciation Tuesday.

Jimmye Laycock announced earlier this week that he is stepping down as coach at William & Mary after this upcoming season , his 39th. Laycock, 70, has accumulated 245 wins (most among active Division I coaches) and ranks third all-time in tenure at a single Division I school behind Penn State’s Joe Paterno and Chicago’s Amos Alonzo Stagg.

But perhaps of most consequence to Steelers fans is that about a decade into his tenure with the Tribe he was the final coach Tomlin — the player — had.

“I can’t eloquently describe what he’s meant to me,” Tomlin said during a news conference Tuesday at Saint Vincent, adding he regularly speaks with Laycock.

“He’s a singularly focused, professional guy. You felt it when you played for him. You always felt supremely prepared because he exuded confidence that was steeped in preparation.”

Tomlin said he spoke to Laycock via phone Monday, the day Laycock had his formal news conference that he was stepping down at the end of the coming season. Tomlin said he congratulated Laycock on his career, but instead of the conversation lingering on Laycock’s retirement, the men bounced ideas off each other about how each can best approach their seasons.

“He’s a good home base for me,” Tomlin said. “That guy has been on his job for 39 years, but what better mentor than to be able to call and share some experiences and gain some perspective? It helps that he coached me. I’ve known that guy since I was 17 years old, so I love him on a personal level. Professionally, I admire him. I always have. He’s been a blueprint for me.”

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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