WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (March 28, 2014)—The William and Mary football family recently lost one of its most passionate and ardent supporters when Tom Mikula ’48 passed away earlier this week.
In addition to being a former player (1943-44, 46-47) and assistant coach (1949-50, 1952) at W&M, Mikula also founded the HEYFARL (Hundred Each Year for a Rising Letterman) scholarship program. Mikula introduced the HEYFARL concept in 1993 as a way to raise funds to provide scholarships for walk-on football players.
“I loved that guy!” said Steve McNamee ’81, a founding member of HEYFARL. “He always made time to take care of me – like a mentor or even a father. He was such a dear friend – a really good guy.
“Tom loved W&M football. He was on a continuous mission to find opportunities for people to contribute to the team’s success, as he did so generously.”
Several years after starting HEYFARL, he initiated the HEYFARL Endowment, which enabled Tribe supporters to become a lifetime member of HEYFARL for a gift of $2,500.
In just two decades, the HEYFARL endowment has grown to more than $1 million and has supported 61 Tribe football players. Among the many, many former scholarship recipients are current Carolina Panthers Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott ’98 and 2004 Payton Award Winner Lang Campbell ’05.
“Tom was a great friend and an integral part of the rich William and Mary Football tradition,” reflected Tribe Head Coach Jimmye Laycock. “Further, his work and influence on starting and sustaining HEYFARL touched many young men’s lives by providing them with the financial support to both play football and earn a W&M degree. I know I speak for the entire Tribe Football family in sending our sympathies out to his friends and relatives.”
A blocking back and linebacker, Mikula joined the W&M football team as a walk-on in 1943 and played on some of the program’s most successful teams. After posting an 8-2 record in 1946, the College registered a 9-2 mark during Mikula’s senior season en route to winning the Southern Conference title and making an appearance in the Dixie Bowl.
A memorial service will be held on April 12 at 10 a.m., at the Alumni House.