Big 12 Sports Articles

Three Reasons Why Jeff Traylor Is the Right Fit For Texas Tech

NCAA Football: Texas-San Antonio at Illinois

With Jeff Traylor being named as a potential candidate for the Texas Tech job, here are three reasons why Traylor would make a good fit for the Red Raiders.

1. He Meets All of Kirby Hocutt’s Criteria

During his press conference on Monday, Hocutt made it clear what he was looking for in his next head football coach:

 

Well, Traylor connects all of those dots. The Gilmer, Texas, native worked his way back to coach his high school alma mater and led them to three state championships. Odd note — I’m from East Texas and my dad lives in Gilmer, and I can tell you the locals love the guy. They had no ill will for him when he left for the college ranks. The stadium there bears his name. Because of his high school roots, he knows most of the state’s coaches by name, which makes recruiting so much easier. Traylor can hit the ground running. I’m not familiar enough with his transfer portal work at UTSA, but the Roadrunners are in the Top 25 for the first time in the program’s history. That speaks for itself. Given Hocutt’s desires, this opening fits Traylor like a glove.

2. He Earned Respect Fast in College

He spent 15 years at Gilmer before moving to the college ranks to work for Charlie Strong at Texas. Strong, being an outside hire, needed Traylor’s relationships with Texas high school coaches to help him recruit. That helped Texas recruit back-to-back No. 7 classes and helped earn Traylor an associate head coach for offense position after just one season with the Longhorns. That caught the attention of Chad Morris, himself a former Texas high school coach who used a similar path to Traylor to get to the college game (plus, Morris is from Edgewood, Texas, about an hour from Gilmer). Morris hired Traylor at SMU, and then Traylor followed Morris to Arkansas. With Morris, Traylor was the associate head coach and running backs coach at both stops. Traylor’s rise is also similar to that of Gus Malzahn, who parlayed an ultra-successful high school coaching career in Arkansas in a career as a head coach in college football.

 

3. The Timing is Perfect

Many SMU fans wanted Traylor to get the job with the Mustangs before SMU hired Sonny Dykes. He took the UTSA job before the 2020 season and turned the Roadrunners around immediately, leading them to a seven-win season and a bowl berth in a pandemic. This season, the Roadrunners have won their first eight games and are in the AP Top 25. The Roadrunners have never had this kind of success. It’s part of the reason the school just accepted an invitation to join the American Athletic Conference for the 2023-24 athletic season. When moving from the Group of 5 to the Power 5, timing is critical. It worked for P.J. Fleck, who parlayed Western Michigan’s undefeated season and Cotton Bowl berth in the 2016 season into the job at Minnesota.  

Traylor could end up doing the same thing.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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