As one of the country’s oldest institutions of higher learning, gaining its charter in 1693 and second only to Harvard, academics at the College of William and Mary are renowned and well-established. But amongst the teaching excellence and rigorous courses of study (routinely rated in the top 20 of all public universities in the nation), sports also have a storied tradition, with top-notch facilities like Kaplan Arena and Zable Stadium hosting games throughout the school year and bringing a buzz to campus.
All of the sports programs at the College of William and Mary, as well as their fans, are known colloquially as “the Tribe,” a nickname that took root almost a century ago and became more established throughout the decades as the Tribe grew in stature, proven by winning NCAA championships in tennis alongside countless conference trophies in sports as varied as gymnastics, field hockey, and football. Today, the Tribe is larger and more vibrant than ever, with plenty of chances to see W & M sports like basketball, tennis, and baseball over the winter months, followed by events like track and field that pick up heading into spring.
Our Williamsburg bed and breakfast – located right at the edge of campus and within walking distance of all of the state-of-the-art sports facilities on campus – is perfect for catching a sporting event during your stay, whether you’re supporting a student-athlete in your family or just want to experience the thrill of being part of the Tribe on game day.
After winning the CAA (Colonial Athletic Association) title in 2022 and having another strong year in 2023, the College of William and Mary football team makes the fall months extra spirited, filling the stands of Zable Stadium on home game weekends. Although their 2023 season has wrapped up, check for when the 2024 fall season home dates are released and plan your visit to coincide with a Saturday game on campus.
Following a quiet few weeks at William and Mary over winter break (a great time to take scenic strolls throughout the campus if you’re visiting Williamsburg over the holidays, free from the crowds of students, with serene views of the historic buildings and snow-covered pathways), winter sports pick up speed in early January.
Men’s and women’s basketball games happen weekly, starting with the first women’s home game of 2024 versus North Carolina A & T on Friday, January 12th at 7 pm, while the men’s team takes on Elon on January 4th and Drexel on January 6th, convenient dates for catching a game if you visit around New Year’s. For the wildest and most festive atmosphere, plan to attend special-themed basketball game nights like women’s Pride Night on January 26th versus Hofstra, one of their chief CAA rivals, or the men’s Gold Rush game on February 3rd against Charleston. Gold Rush night –celebrating its 11th year in 2024 – is often the most attended home basketball game of the season, packed with fans all wearing shades of gold to support the Tribe (whose colors are gold and green). Before heading to the game, pick up some team gear at the Campus Shop, our neighbors on Prince George Street, where you’ll find everything from hats and winter beanies to t-shirts and hoodies, with every version of the William and Mary logo imaginable.
It’s just a short walk through campus to get to Kaplan Arena, home to the men’s and women’s basketball teams (and gymnastics) since 1970. The arena accommodates 8,600 fans on game nights without a bad seat in the house. Tickets are very reasonable – women’s games are usually $10 for general admission seating (show up early to snag courtside seats), while men’s games are $10-15, with seats just behind the bench often available in advance.
Although football and basketball often draw the biggest crowds, there are plenty of opportunities to see other sports at the College of William and Mary over the coming months, with several free to spectators. Men’s and women’s tennis are free to attend, with upcoming 2024 matches for the men versus Florida Atlantic on January 25th and against James Madison on February 3rd, while the women play Georgetown on February 4th and St.John’s on February 11th. During January and February, tennis matches are held indoors at the McCormack-Nagelsen Tennis Center (make sure to visit the history-rich ITA Tennis Hall of Fame while you’re there) and move outdoors as the weather warms up in March and April. If you attend an outdoor tennis match in the spring, it’ll be at the Millie West Tennis Facility, located right near the beautiful banks of Matoaka Lake. Between watching matches, plan to hike the Matoaka Overlook Trail, one of the most picturesque areas on the sprawling 1,580-acre campus.
Men’s and women’s cross country and track and field – consistently solid teams for the Tribe, with the men’s cross country team winning the CAA title as recently as 2021 – are free events to attend. For the complete track experience, plan to attend the annual Dan Stimson Invitational at Zable Stadium on March 16th, 2024, when both the men’s and women’s teams will compete all day in events ranging from shot put and high jump to sprints, relays, and the always-entertaining steeplechase.
If baseball is more your speed, catch the Tribe play at home against Holy Cross on February 17th or UMass Lowell on February 25th, 2024, with other home games throughout March, April, and May at Plumeri Park, a short drive from the Inn and one of the finest baseball stadiums you’ll find on any college campus.
Whichever sporting events you choose to attend, start with some pre-game drinks and eats in and around Merchants Square — sit down for a delicious meal across the street from us at the Blue Talon Bistro or grab a tasty brew a couple blocks away at the Precarious Beer Project (a must-visit for beer lovers and one of the stars of Williamsburg’s craft brewery scene) before strolling over to campus for the game day festivities.
Stay with us and experience the rush of cheering for the Tribe at the College of William and Mary!