It has been four days since Matt Wells was relieved of his duties on the South Plains, and there has been nothing short of a firestorm of names that have been linked to the coaching search in Lubbock. Everyone from Mike Leach to even Deion Sanders. In all reality it is a long shot to get either of those guys to coach in Lubbock, and I only think Leach would consider it if Kent Hance was forced to give him the money personally and apologize.
We all know that will never happen so, in turn, I’d like to zero in on what so far has been the top candidate, in Jeff Traylor. Who is Jeff Traylor? How did he get the UTSA job? Is he ready for a Power 5 job? Let’s take a look at the leader of the Roadrunner program.
Jeff Traylor started his coaching career after graduating from Stephen F. Austin with an assistant coaching gig at Big Sandy High School. After leaving Big Sandy he moved on to Jacksonville (TX) High School where he was an assistant coach for six years.
In 2000, Traylor took over the Gilmer High School Buckeye Football Program. He coached at Gilmer for 15 years, compiling a 175-26 record with 12 district championships, five state championship appearances, and three state titles.
In 2015, he joined the staff at Texas as tight ends coach and special teams coordinator, before rising to associate head coach for offense and wide receivers coach in 2016. While in this role, he signed the number seven overall recruiting class in the country in back-to-back years, earning him the Big 12 recruiter of the year award in 2016.
In 2017, he left Texas and joined the SMU staff in the role of associate head coach and running backs coach. He stayed the 2017 season before moving on to Arkansas in the same role.
After the 2019 season, Traylor left Arkansas and accepted the UTSA Head Coaching position.
In his first season at UTSA, he went 7-5 and lost in the First Responder Bowl, however a week before the bowl game, Traylor tested positive for COVID-19 and did not make the trip to Dallas with his team. UTSA ended up losing to Louisiana by a score of 31-24.
This season, Traylor has the Roadrunners sitting at 8-0 overall and 4-0 in Conference USA, they are currently ranked 23rd in the AP Poll. UTSA has a realistic shot at finishing this season undefeated judging by the remainder of their schedule.
According to multiple sources, Texas Tech interviewed Traylor Thursday morning in San Antonio, so it would appear that this is moving quickly, and at this point there is mutual interest on both sides.
Traylor is obviously wired in to the Texas High School Football recruiting scene, and that would be a major feather in his cap for his resume. If he can sell Conference USA and San Antonio to recruits, there is little doubt he can sell a Power 5 Big 12 school in Lubbock.
In all reality Lubbock is not a hard place to recruit to, and if other coaches can recruit to places like Ames, Manhattan, and Waco, Lubbock is not a hard sell at all. The city of Lubbock is one of the best places to raise a family and the Texas Tech community is a special one for sure.
Overall, Jeff Traylor seems to be the real deal. Will he be the next head coach in Lubbock?
Time will tell.