After another losing season, UTSA athletics felt the need to make some changes to its football program, including bringing in a new head coach. UTSA announced Jeff Traylor would be the third head coach in the university’s football history on Monday, Dec. 9, 2019. By the end of the week, Traylor had 10 recruits come onto campus for official visits with the team.
“We had a kid here Wednesday and Thursday. Then we had eight more kids [come] on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Traylor stated when asked how the recruiting aspect of the job was going.
Traylor had a 15-year career as head coach for Gilmer High School’s football team in East Texas, where he was able to make it to five state championships and win three. Traylor feels the relationships he has built with Texas high school coaches have helped him get to where he is now.
“No doubt that they’re the reason I got the job. They’re the reason I’ll keep the job, and they’re the reason we’ll make this place great,” Traylor said. “We’ve evaluated over 2,100 kids all from Texas high school coaches. We’ve tried to get back to every one of them, and the ones that we missed, they’ve texted me and reminded me and we’re still trying to get an evaluation back to them.”
Traylor said he was drawn to UTSA because he believes it will be a great fit for him.
“I think so much in this business is about the fit. Great coaches have gone to jobs and just weren’t a good fit, and it just was a great fit for me,” Traylor said.
“It’s a new program. We have the ability to shape our own tradition. I’m the third head coach in the history of the program, and that excites me,” Traylor said. “So I’ve just been so excited and honored and humbled that they would think that I’m the right person for this job, and it’s not anything more than that.”
Traylor made sure that one of his first tasks as head coach was to get in touch with his group of student athletes from the previous season.
“I’ve already talked to them. You know, they didn’t pick me. I picked them. I chose them. They didn’t choose me. I just asked for a chance. I just wanted them to give me a chance. I asked them three things that need to be fixed and three things that are already great about this place. So the things that are great, I am going to try to make better, and the things that they identified that we need to work on, we’re going to work on.”
In 2019, UTSA became the first university to implement the Brenda Tracy Rule to help with the zero-tolerance policy on campus. Traylor believes the rules behind this are simple and says that he was made aware this would be a very important part of taking the job.
“Dr. Campos and President Eighmy were very upfront when they hired me. This was going to be part of the deal.”
Traylor would like to instill a winning work ethic in everything that his players and coaching staff do by stacking up wins in everyday activities so they can be the best they can possibly be.
“I know what everybody wants me to say. But we just keep stacking one great day on top of another great day on top of another great day, and you’ll look up and you’ll have a really good football team.”
“Come watch, come look, come check us out,” is what Traylor wants fans to know about what he plans on doing for the program. “Come feel the energy. Feel the juice. Be around us. Get to know us. Give us a chance.”
Do not expect any graduate transfers to come in and lead the team as quarterback because Traylor believes that the man for the job is already here on campus.
“I didn’t bring a grad transfer for a reason. We feel our quarterback is on campus and we’re going to open it up and will compete for it. Whoever can lead the team in the end zone the most will be the starting quarterback,” Traylor said.
Students and fans will get their first glimpse of the Roadrunners during the spring game later this semester.
“I would hope you’d see we’ve installed most of our offense, and it’s starting to look a little more polished,” Traylor said. “That’s what we hope to see, you know. We want to get it installed.”
Traylor and the Roadrunners will kickoff their 2020 season on Sept. 5 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as they take on the defending national champion Louisiana State University Tigers.