In the fall of 1893, Charles L. Hepburn brought together the first official football team at William & Mary—the college's first organized athletic team. The 1893 team played three games, starting with the first contest in school history against a YMCA team from nearby Norfolk, Virginia.
The 1898 season was significant because it marked the first meeting between William & Mary and the University of Richmond, which later became known as the I-64 Bowl (so named for the highway between the two nearby schools), then eventually as the Capital Cup. The Richmond–W&M rivalry is the fourth-longest played college football rivalry and, through the 2011 match-up, the schools have played each other 121 times. The Richmond Spiders football team won the inaugural contest 15–0.
a Between 1896 and 1909 their nickname was "Orange and White," deriving that name from the school's former colors (William & Mary now uses green and gold). Since white uniforms dirtied too quickly, they became known as the "Orange and Black" from 1910 through 1916. Between 1917 and 1977 they were known as the Indians, and throughout this period a man dressing up as a Native American would ride around on a pony along the sidelines during games. This practice was discontinued when the outcry of stereotyping Native Americans as well as the use of a live animal became controversial. Since the 1978 season William & Mary has adopted the nickname "Tribe."