Named UTSA’s third head coach on Dec. 9, 2019, Jeff Traylor has had an immediate impact on the program, university and city of San Antonio in a short period of time.
Traylor has turned around the UTSA football program by instilling his 210 Triangle of Toughness culture, which has led to positive results on and off the field. The Gilmer, Texas, native took over a team that won a combined seven games in the two seasons prior to his arrival and has led the Roadrunners to a 39-14 record in his first four years at the helm, the most wins and best winning percentage (.736) by a coach in program history.
In 2023, Traylor has led the Roadrunners to a 9-4 record, a 7-1 mark in their debut campaign in the American Athletic Conference and the program’s first bowl win with a 35-17 victory over Marshall in the Frisco Bowl. UTSA, which received votes in both the final Associated Press Top 25 and USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll for the third consecutive season, now has won at least seven games and advanced to a bowl game in each year of the Traylor era.
A total of 16 Roadrunners collected All-American Athletic Conference honors in 2023, led by five first-team honorees in Defensive Player of the Year and outside linebacker Trey Moore, quarterback Frank Harris, wide receiver Joshua Cephus, cornerback Kam Alexander and safety Rashad Wisdom. Moore was named a second-team All-American by the AFCA, while Harris was chosen as a semifinalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award for the third year in a row and to the Davey O’Brien QB Class of 2023, his fourth career appearance on that annual list. Harris also was named national player of the week by those two organizations, while the Roadrunners hauled in five AAC Player of the Week awards.
In 2022, Traylor guided UTSA to an 11-3 record, a second straight Conference USA title, a top-25 ranking in all three major polls for the second consecutive season and the third bowl appearance in a row with the Cure Bowl matchup against Troy. He repeated as Conference USA Coach of the Year and was chosen as a finalist for the Eddie Robinson and Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards Coach of the Year, as well as a semifinalist for the George Munger College Coach of the Year Award.
Under Traylor’s guidance, UTSA collected a school-record 30 league postseason honors, as 27 made the 2022 all-conference teams —including six first-team and five second-team selections — while 16 received honorable mention and three landed on the Conference USA All-Freshman Team. Harris was voted the league’s MVP and Kevorian Barnes was tabbed Conference USA Freshman of the Year. Harris (4) and Jared Sackett (5) combined to earn nine player of the week accolades during the season.
Also in 2022, wide receiver Zakhari Franklin was named an honorable mention All-American by Phil Steele, the sixth Roadrunner to receive All-America accolades in the Traylor era. Additionally, Harris was named a finalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award and a semifinalist for the Davey O’Brien Award.
Under Traylor’s tutelage, UTSA enjoyed a record-setting campaign in 2021. The Roadrunners won their first 11 games, were nationally ranked as high as No. 15 for the first time in school history and captured the program’s first league title. UTSA capped the season with its second straight and third overall bowl appearance against San Diego State in the Frisco Bowl.
Traylor was honored as the 2021 Conference USA Coach of the Year, the AFCA FBS Regional Coach of the Year for Region 4 and a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, AFCA National Coach of the Year and George Munger College Coach of the Year Award. A member of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards Coach of the Year watch list, he was chosen as the 2021 San Antonio Express-News Sportsman of the Year.
A total of 23 Roadrunners received recognition on the all-conference and Conference USA All-Freshman teams in 2021 with Sincere McCormick earning Offensive Player of the Year accolades for the second straight season.
McCormick garnered All-America accolades from three different organizations in 2021, while Spencer Burford and Clarence Hicks were tabbed honorable mention All-Americans by Phil Steele. McCormick also was an Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award finalist and a semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award for the second straight year. Harris landed on semifinalist lists for the Davey O’Brien and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Awards, while Hunter Duplessis was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy for the second year in a row. Harris and McCormick each collected Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award National Player of the Week honors, while Harris also was a Manning Award Quarterback of the Week. Additionally, UTSA collected nine league weekly awards.
In his first season at the helm, Traylor guided the Roadrunners to a 7-5 overall record, a runner-up finish in Conference USA’s West Division with a 5-2 mark and an appearance in the 2020 First Responder Bowl. The Roadrunners received votes in a national poll (AP Top 25) for the first time in program history after a 3-0 start and the seven wins are the most by a first-year UTSA head coach.
Dean, Duplessis and McCormick received All-America accolades, while McCormick also was a finalist for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award. Additionally, Duplessis (Campbell Trophy, Lou Groza) and McCormick (Doak Walker) were national award semifinalists, while Harris made the Davey O’Brien QB Class of 2020. Dean was tabbed Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Year and McCormick was named the league’s offensive player of the year, while a total of 23 Roadrunners were recognized by the league's head coaches, including 19 as all-conference and four on the all-freshman team. The Roadrunners collected a program-record 11 C-USA Player of the Week certificates and a trio of national player of the week accolades in McCormick (Earl Campbell Tyler Rose National Player of the Week), Dean (Ray Guy Award Punter of the Week) and Rashad Wisdom (Jim Thorpe Award Player of the Week).
During his time in San Antonio, Traylor has overseen the development of several Roadrunners who have moved on to the professional ranks. In April 2022, UTSA doubled the number of NFL draft picks on one afternoon, as the 49ers selected Spencer Burford in the fourth round while the Seahawks picked Tariq Woolen one round later. Burford earned the starting spot at right guard in year one and Woolen has picked off half a dozen passes in his rookie campaign en route to being selected to the Pro Bowl. Additionally, Hicks (Bengals), McCormick (Raiders), Charles Wiley (Ravens, Giants) and Leroy Watson (49ers) all signed free-agent deals in 2022.
UTSA student-athletes have been honored for their work in the classroom under Traylor, as well. In 2023, UTSA was one of 13 schools to receive the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 2023 Academic Achievement Award for posting the highest graduation rate among FBS programs in the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) report.
Individually, Ahofitu Maka became the third Roadrunner to be named a finalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy and the second to be selected as a College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-American when he landed on the first team in 2022. He also earned spots on the CSC Academic All-District Team for a third time and the Conference USA All-Academic Team for the second straight season. Duplessis was a two-time Conference USA Football Scholar Athlete of the Year, a 2021 CSC Academic All-American, a two-time Conference USA All-Academic Team selection and a two-time CSC Academic All-District pick. Dean was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy in 2023 and he earned 2021 Conference USA All-Academic Team recognition and CSC Academic All-District Team accolades in 2021-23. Kaedric Cobbs, Cory Godinet, Trey Moore and Tate Sandell also made the 2023 CSC Academic All-District Team.
Traylor has more than 30 years of coaching experience including a highly successful 15-year career as head coach at Gilmer High School, where he led teams to three state championships and two state runner-up finishes and won more than 87% of his games, a winning percentage that ranks 10th all-time in Texas high school history.
Prior to coming to the Alamo City, the Gilmer native served as associate head coach and running backs coach for two seasons at Arkansas, where he helped sign the school’s first top-20 recruiting class. Prior to that, he served in the same role at SMU for the 2017 season. He began his collegiate coaching career as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Texas in 2015 before becoming the Longhorns’ associate head coach for offense and wide receivers coach the following year.
Traylor’s impact on the offense was felt immediately in his first season at Arkansas, as his running backs corps racked up 1,721 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2018. The unit was led by Rakeem Boyd, who rushed for more than 100 yards in three different SEC games, including a season-best 113 against Vanderbilt. The Houston Stratford High School product took over the starting tailback role in the fifth game of the season and his most impressive stretch of the season came during a four-game stretch against Alabama, Ole Miss, Tulsa and Vanderbilt, as he topped the century mark three times and totaled 423 yards. His 102 yards against Alabama made him the first Arkansas running back to eclipse 100 yards against the Crimson Tide since Darren McFadden in 2007.
In Traylor’s second season coaching the Arkansas running backs, Boyd rushed for 1,133 yards and eight touchdowns on 184 carries (6.2 avg.) to spearhead a ground game that accumulated 1,766 yards. Boyd topped 100 yards in five contests, including a season-best 185 and two scores on just eight attempts against Western Kentucky. He also rushed for 100-plus against Portland State (114), Colorado State (122), Kentucky (134) and Mississippi (114).
Prior to his time at Arkansas, Traylor spent the 2017 season as associate head coach and running backs coach at SMU under Chad Morris. He also served as the Mustangs’ interim head coach before joining Morris' staff at Arkansas.
During his one year at SMU, Traylor’s running backs piled up 2,223 yards on the ground. Three players rushed for 500-plus yards, with Xavier Jones leading the group at 1,075. The Mustangs topped the 200-yard mark on the ground six times, including a season-best 311 in a win against Arkansas State. SMU ranked in the top 20 nationally in several offensive categories, including 12th in scoring offense and 15th in total offense.
Prior to his time in Dallas, Traylor spent two seasons at Texas. He was the tight ends coach and special teams coordinator in 2015 and then the associate head coach for offense and wide receivers coach in 2016, when the Longhorns boasted the nation’s No. 16-ranked offense that averaged 491.3 yards per game. During his time as the lead recruiter, he helped the Longhorns sign the No. 7-ranked recruiting class in the country in back-to-back years and was named Scout.com’s Big 12 Recruiter of the Year. He 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, and currently punts for the Seattle Seahawks.
Traylor built his hometown program into a prep powerhouse during his 15-year tenure leading the Gilmer Buckeyes.
A four-time Texas High School Coach of the Year, he posted a 175-26 record (.871 winning percentage) and led Gilmer to five state championship game appearances, three state titles (2004, ’09, ’14) and 12 district crowns. The Buckeyes turned in a pair of perfect 16-0 seasons, won 10-or-more games 11 times and registered seven 13-win seasons and three 15-win campaigns during his career.
In 2014, his undefeated Class 4A Division II state championship team boasted one of the most prolific offenses in Texas prep history. Gilmer scored 950 points, the second-most at that time in state history, averaging 59.4 points and 536.1 yards over the 16-game season. The Buckeyes topped 60 points nine times, including two 80-point performances. Gilmer also averaged 536.1 total yards per game (8,577 yards) 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 and had eight different players earn Class 4A All-State honors from either the AP or Texas Sports Writers Association.
Gilmer’s two other state titles under Traylor both came in Class 3A in 2004 (Division II) and 2009 (Division I), before the change in class structure in Texas high school football moved the school into Class 4A. After 15 years on its sidelines, Gilmer renamed Buckeye Stadium to Jeff Traylor Stadium to honor his successful career.
Inducted into the East Texas Coaches Association Hall of Honor in 2019, Traylor received numerous honors during his prep coaching career, including being named Coach of the Decade (2000s) by the Tyler Morning Telegraph. He is a 12-time District Coach of the Year, four-time East Texas Coach of the Year and a four-time Ted Jeffries Award winner. He has received the Carl Padilla Coach of the Year, KYKX Coach of the Year and Old Coach Network Coach of the Year awards twice each.
Traylor began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Big Sandy High School in 1990-93 before a seven-year stint (1994-2000) at Jacksonville High School where he served as passing coordinator, defensive backs coach, receivers coach and special teams coordinator. There, he helped coach future NFL quarterbacks Josh McCown and Luke McCown and former Texas A&M standout signal-caller Randy McCown.
A 1986 graduate of Gilmer High School, Traylor earned both undergraduate (1990) and graduate (2002) degrees in education from Stephen F. Austin while playing football as a walk-on.
He and his wife, Cari, have three children: Jordan, Jacob and Jaci.
The Jeff Traylor File
1990-93: Big Sandy High School (assistant coach)
1994-2000: Jacksonville High School (assistant coach)
2001-2014: Gilmer High School (head coach)
2015: Texas (special teams coordinator/tight ends)
2016: Texas (associate head coach, offense/receivers)
2017: SMU (associate head coach/running backs)
2018-19: Arkansas (associate head coach/running backs)
2020-present: UTSA (head coach)
Record at UTSA
• Overall: 39-14 (.736) | Conference: 27-4 (.871)
• 2021 & 2022 Conference USA Coach of the Year
• 2021 & 2022 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalist
• 2022 Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards Coach of the Year finalist
• 2021 AFCA Region 4 Coach of the Year
• 2021 AFCA National Coach of the Year finalist
• 2021 George Munger College Coach of the Year finalist
• 2021 San Antonio Express-News Sportsman of the Year
• Scout.com 2016 Big 12 Recruiter of the Year
• East Texas Coaches Association Hall of Honor
• Tyler Morning Telegraph Coach of the Decade (2000s)
• 12-time District Coach of the Year
• Four-time Texas High School Coach of the Year
• Four-time East Texas Coach of the Year
• Four-time Ted Jeffries Award recipient
• Carl Padilla Coach of the Year
• KYKX Coach of the Year
• Old Coach Network Coach of the Year
1986-89: Stephen F. Austin
• Bachelor’s degree in education, Stephen F. Austin, 1990
• Master’s degree in education, Stephen F. Austin, 2002
May 9, 1968
Children: Jordan, Jacob, Jaci