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Sources confirm Jeff Traylor to be named UTSA head football coach

An introductory press conference will be held on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Alamodome.
Credit: UTSA

SAN ANTONIO — A legendary East Texas high school football coach is heading back to the Lone Star State.

The University of Texas at San Antonio has confirmed a CBS19 report that Jeff Traylor has been named the college's new head football coach. 

"As we conducted an extensive national search, one candidate prominently rose above the others for his record of success, his commitment to preparing student-athletes for life and his deep ties to football here in the state of Texas," said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. "Coach Traylor embodies all of these characteristics and has an outstanding reputation among his high school, college and professional peers for his ability to recruit, develop and mold champions—on the field and in life."

An introductory press conference will be held on Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the Alamodome.

"I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity, and thank Dr. Eighmy, Dr. Campos and the rest of the UTSA community for putting their trust in me," said Traylor. "I can't wait to meet our student-athletes and the rest of the Roadrunner Family, and I look forward to hitting the ground running. UTSA is a sleeping giant and I can't wait to wake it up. Being a native Texan and a coach for so many years in this state, I understand how important football is to the people of Texas," added Traylor. "I'm anxious to reconnect and continue building relationships with Texas High School Coaches Association and all the great high school coaches in this state and beyond."  

"Finding a leader who not only understands the landscape of recruiting in Texas but has demonstrated an ability to build a championship culture was key in this selection," said Dr. Lisa Campos, UTSA Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. "Jeff is a high energy individual who is going to engage our community, build relationships and positively impact the lives of our student-athletes, all while building a championship caliber program."

"Jeff Traylor is a champion who has an innate ability to help student-athletes become the best leaders they can be," said D.W. Rutledge, former executive director of the Texas High School Football Coaches Association. "He is one of our own and as someone who is extremely well connected with the Texas high school coaching community, he is an excellent choice to usher in a powerful new era for Roadrunners Football." 

"Jeff Traylor is a dynamic, transformational leader who will usher in a bright new era for UTSA football," Baylor head coach Matt Rhule said. "I have long admired Coach Traylor's passion for young people, his knowledge of the game and his unparalleled impact in recruiting. He is a dynamic personality who will recruit the very best student-athletes from all across the state and high school coaches know that if they send a young man to Jeff, he will be cared for, taught and pushed to be the very best that he can be. I look forward to seeing Coach Traylor and his staff bring a championship to San Antonio."

Traylor will take over for Frank Wilson who was fired in early December after four seasons leading the Roadrunners. Wilson compiled a 19-29 overall record in San Antonio, including a 4-7 record in 2019.

Traylor's five-year contract begins on December 13 and includes $800,000 in guaranteed compensation in year one. It also includes financial incentives for various goals including, but not limited to, regular season game wins, achievement of a bowl game and ticket sales milestones.

UTSA is a member of Conference USA along with:

  • Charlotte
  • FIU
  • Florida Atlantic
  • Louisiana Tech
  • Marshall
  • Middle Tennessee
  • North Texas
  • Old Dominion 
  • Rice
  • Southern Miss
  • UAB
  • UTEP
  • WKU

Traylor also interviewed at Lamar University over the weekend.

RELATED: Jeff Traylor to interview for Lamar head coaching vacancy

In November 2018, Traylor was also named a candidate for the SFA head coaching post. He later withdrew his name from the search.

RELATED: CONFIRMED: Jeff Traylor withdraws from SFA coaching search, will stay at Arkansas

RELATED: Jeff Traylor named candidate for SFA head football coach

Since 2017, Traylor, an SFA alum and walk-on football player, has served as the associate head coach/running backs coach at the University of Arkansas under Chad Morris, with whom he also worked at Southern Methodist University. Morris was let go by Arkansas after the 2019 season.

Before following Morris to Arkansas, Traylor served as SMU's interim head coach following the Razorbacks’ hiring of Morris in December 2017. He helped lead the Mustangs to their first bowl game since 2012.

Traylor’s unit at SMU totaled 2,223 yards rushing in 2017, highlighted by three players who rushed for 500-plus yards with sophomore Xavier Jones leading the group at 1,075. The Mustangs topped the 200-yard mark on the ground six times with a season-best 311 in a win against Arkansas State.

Prior to his time at SMU, Traylor spent two seasons at the University of Texas (2015-16). In his first season in Austin, he coached tight ends and was named Scout.com’s Big 12 Recruiter of the Year. In 2016, Traylor coached tight ends and wide receivers for the Longhorns, who boasted the nation’s No. 16 ranked offense that averaged 491.3 yards per game.

During his time in Austin, Traylor recruited punter Michael Dickson, who went on to earn multiple All-America honors, win Big 12 Conference Special Teams Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017 as well as the 2017 Ray Guy Award.

Before making the move to college ball, Traylor spent 15 seasons (2000-14) as the head coach at Gilmer High School. He acquired an overall record of 175-26 with three state championships and two state runner-up finishes.

RELATED: Traylor, King, Surratt to be inducted into East Texas Coaches Association Hall of Honor

Under Traylor, Gilmer reached the 10-win mark 11 times, while also recording seven 13-win campaigns. The Buckeyes posted 15 wins three times, all of which resulted in undefeated state championship years, including two 16-0 seasons in 2004 and 2014.

In 2014, the Gilmer offense put up the second-most points in the history of Texas high school football with 950 in 16 games for an average of 59.4 points per game and won the 4A Division 2 state title. The Buckeyes scored 60-plus points nine times, including two 80-point performances. Gilmer also averaged 536.1 total yards per game (8,577) behind a balanced 293.9 passing yards and 242.1 rushing yards per contest. The defense was equally dominant, allowing only 276 points (17.3) with five single-digit efforts and two shutouts, while recording 23 interceptions and forcing 17 fumbles. Gilmer closed out the season with a win over West Orange-Stark at AT&T Stadium in Arlington and had eight different players earn 4A All-State honors from either the Associated Press or Texas Sports Writers Association.

Gilmer’s two other state titles under Traylor both came in 3A in 2004 (Division 2) and 2009 (Division 1), before the change in class structure in Texas high school football moved the school into 4A last season. After 15 years on its sidelines, Gilmer renamed Buckeye stadium to Jeff Traylor Stadium in Traylor’s honor.

Prior to Gilmer, Traylor was an assistant coach at Jacksonville High School (1993-99), where he served as passing coordinator, defensive backs coach, receivers coach and special teams coordinator.

Traylor began his coaching career at Big Sandy High School, where he spent four years as an assistant coach (1990-1993).

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