Dale Layer was born in Gainesville and attended Buchholz High.
Now, trips back to his hometown are part of an SEC rivalry.
After a lengthy coaching career spanning two divisions, seven collegiate conferences and a stint in the NBA G-League, he is now a special assistant to head coach Buzz Williams at Texas A&M.
Coaching Beginnings for Layer
After graduating from Buccholz in the 1970s, Layer played two years at St. John’s River State College in Palatka. He then transferred to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, where he would graduate from and become an assistant coach shortly after finishing school in 1980. After all, it was in his blood. Layer’s father was a high school coach for many years.
Layer took a job as a janitor during the day at Eckerd to allow him to coach at night. After eight years and a one-year stint at Eastern Kentucky, he traveled up the east coast to take a head coaching job at D-II Queens College in Charlotte.
He then moved west, becoming an assistant at Colorado State in 1998 before becoming head coach for the 2000 season. He held this position for seven years and led the Rams to their first NCAA tournament appearance in over a decade in 2003.
He was the head coach of Liberty University from 2009-2015. In 2011, he was the first coach in school history to win the Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year honor.
After a year as an assistant with the Greensboro Swarm, the Charlotte Hornets NBA G-League affiliate, he became a special assistant at Virginia Tech in 2018. It was there he coached now University of Florida star Kerry Blackshear, Jr. Layer said this about his former player on Sportscene with Steve Russell on Monday:
Relationship with Buzz Williams
Although Layer now works under Williams, it began the other way around. In 2000, Layer hired the then up-and-coming coach from Texas as an assistant at Colorado State. After picking him up from the airport for an interview, Layer had some reservations.
“I thought I was going to hire a different guy. I almost turned around twice and said ‘I’ll take you back to the airport, man. You’re talking too fast for me.”
Since then, the two have become close friends. They have worked together at four different institutions. Williams hired Layer as an assistant at Marquette in 2008-2009. Layer then worked under Williams at Virginia Tech before the two went to A&M before the current season.
He said this about his time with the Aggies so far: