Jeff Traylor is one of the first names to be associated with the head coaching vacancy at Texas A&M. Who is Jeff Traylor, and why is he being considered for one of the biggest jobs to open up late in 2023?
Let’s take a closer look at his history to find out.
Who is Jeff Traylor? Highly Successful UTSA Coach Eyeing Move Up the Ladder
The UTSA football program has only been around since 2011. They played in the FCS Independent League for one year, the Western Athletic Conference for another, and then made the leap to the FBS’ Conference USA in 2013.
Seven years later, in 2020, they hired Jeff Traylor, who’d quickly become the best coach in the program’s history to this point.
Traylor began his coaching career back in 1989 when he became an assistant coach at Big Sandy High School after playing football as a walk-on at Stephen F. Austin.
In 1993, Traylor became an assistant coach at Jacksonville High School in Texas and remained there until 2000, when he took his first head coaching position at Gilmer High School — the school in his hometown.
At Gilmer, Traylor coached for 15 years. Over that span, he posted a 175-26 record, won Class 4A Texas HS Coach of the Year four times, and three state championships.
Gilmer High School’s stadium was renamed after Traylor in his honor. And in 2015, he jumped to the collegiate level for the first time.
From 2015 to 2019, Traylor made stops at multiple schools. Until 2017, he was a special teams and tight ends coach at the University of Texas. In 2017, he was the SMU Mustangs’ assistant head coach and running backs coach. From 2018 to 2019, he held the same position with the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Traylor’s Tenure with the UTSA Roadrunners
In 2020, Traylor became the third head coach in UTSA’s history. Immediately, he helped the program improve from 4-8 the previous season to 7-5.
In 2021, Traylor helped facilitate the best start in program history, as the Roadrunners went undefeated in their first 11 games. They’d end the year at 12-2, with a C-USA Conference Title and an appearance in the 2021 Frisco Bowl against San Diego State.
In 2022, Traylor again won the C-USA, surpassing the 10-win mark with a record of 11-3. And thus far in 2023, UTSA’s first season in the American Athletic Conference, Traylor has led his Roadrunners to a 7-3 record and a 6-0 conference mark.
In nearly four seasons, Traylor has led UTSA to a combined record of 37-13, and a superb 26-3 record in conference play. He’s also produced several future NFL players — most notably Pro Bowl CB Tariq Woolen and starting offensive guard Spencer Burford.
Why Would Traylor Be Interested in the Texas A&M Job?
Traylor has no doubt built something at UTSA, and when he was asked about the prospect of leaving earlier in 2023 during a press conference, he expressed indifference toward the idea:
“I was at a 4A high school for fifteen years. Everybody said I was going to leave every year. I’m an old soul,” he said. “I’m not sure I was the sexiest hire. [I have a lot of] loyalty and appreciation for Taylor Eighmy, our [UTSA] president, and I’m blessed they gave me a chance when I’m sure most of y’all were like ‘Who’s that guy?’ I’m not going to be able to spend all the money they give me at UTSA. What do I need more money for?”
But circumstances do change, and there are more reasons to leap to a Power Five school besides money. Texas A&M has one of the largest resource pools of any school and is located in the heart of the state. Traylor will have everything he needs to insulate his abilities as a recruiter and talent developer.
Additionally, at Texas A&M, the 55-year-old Traylor would have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to coach at one of the most well-known and storied programs in the state of Texas.
That would have to mean something to Traylor, who himself is Texas-made. Traylor was born in Gilmer, and for all but two years of his 34-year coaching career, he’s been in the state of Texas.
Traylor has already interviewed for the head coaching position at Texas A&M. Were he to earn the job, he’d have a chance to build the program back into a powerhouse. And looking at his track record at every stop thus far, he has as good a record as any to prove he’s the man for the job.