UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor has been named to the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards Coach of the Year watch list, the American Heart Association announced on Tuesday.
Traylor is one of 21 FBS coaches — and the only one from Conference USA — on the list for the award given annually to a college football coach for contributions that make the sport better for athletes and fans alike by demonstrating grit, integrity and a winning approach to coaching and life, both on and off the field.
Now in his second season at the helm of the Roadrunners, Traylor has posted a 15-5 record through his first 20 games, a program record for a head coach. The Gilmer, Texas, native has guided UTSA to the best overall (8-0) and conference (4-0) starts in school history, while the current eight-game winning streak is the longest in UTSA annals and the third-longest active FBS streak.
Under Traylor’s guidance, the Roadrunners opened the season on Sept. 4 with the program’s second triumph over a team from a Power Five conference in the 37-30 road win over Illinois before posting a 54-0 rout of Lamar, the program’s first shutout and largest margin of victory. He became the first coach in program history to post back-to-back 3-0 starts after the 27-13 win over Middle Tennessee on Sept. 18. One week later, Traylor led the Roadrunners to the largest comeback win in school history, as UTSA overcame a 21-0 deficit for a 31-28 road win over Memphis.
UTSA matched the previous best start in program history by running its record to 5-0 following the 24-17 win against UNLV and then improved to 6-0 for the first time following the 52-46 road win over WKU on Oct. 9. The Roadrunners logged their second shutout of the season with the 45-0 Homecoming rout of Rice and then raced past Louisiana Tech with a 45-16 road triumph last Saturday in Ruston, extending the best start in program history.
Last fall, Traylor became the first UTSA head coach to win his first three games and to notch seven victories in his debut season. He led the Roadrunners to the second bowl appearance in school history with a spot in the SERVPRO First Resonder Bowl on Dec. 26 in Dallas. An unprecedented number of Roadrunners earned All-America — Lucas Dean, Hunter Duplessis and Sincere McCormick — and all-conference (19) accolades in 2020.
Traylor boasts more than 30 years of coaching experience, including a highly successful 15-year career as head coach at Gilmer High School, where he led his hometown Buckeyes to three state championships and two state runner-up finishes and posted a 175-26 (.871) record. Named the third head coach in UTSA history on Dec. 10, 2019, Traylor previously was the associate head coach and running backs coach at Arkansas (2018-19) and SMU (2017) after two seasons at Texas serving as associate head coach for the offense and receivers coach in 2016 and special teams coordinator and tight ends coach in 2015.
The Coach of the Year will be announced live from Houston’s Post Oak Hotel on Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, during the awards ceremony with proceeds benefiting the American Heart Association. The Coach of the Year award is voted on by the National Sports Media Association, current NCAA College football coaches, former Coach of the Year Award winners, the Bryant Awards’ Executive Leadership Team and the Bryant Family.The award is the only college coaching honor selected after all postseason bowl games and the National Championship have been played.
In addition to the Coach of the Year, the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards program will also present Conference Coaches of the Year Awards from each of the “Power Five” collegiate athletic conferences (Atlantic Coast, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and Southeastern Conferences) and one from the “Group of Five” conferences (American Athletic Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain West Conference, and Sun Belt Conference). The 2021 award cycle marks the second year that the individual conference coach recognitions have been granted.
The American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives for all, and the Bryant family present this award annually to celebrate Bear Bryant’s legacy and raise awareness and critical funds for research to eradicate cardiovascular disease and stroke, leading causes of death globally. The football coaching legend died from a heart attack in 1983.
The 2021 Watch List includes (in alphabetical order by conference):
“Group of Five” Conferences
- Jamey Chadwell – Coastal Carolina University
- Sonny Dykes – Southern Methodist University
- Luke Fickell – University of Cincinnati
- Dana Holgorsen –University of Houston
- Jeff Traylor – University of Texas at San Antonio
Atlantic Coast Conference
- Dave Clawson – Wake Forest University
- Dave Doeren – North Carolina State University
- Pat Narduzzi – University of Pittsburgh
Big Ten Conference
- Ryan Day – Ohio State University
- James Franklin – Pennsylvania State University
- Jim Harbaugh – University of Michigan
- Mel Tucker – Michigan State University
Big 12 Conference
- Dave Aranda – Baylor University
- Mike Gundy – Oklahoma State University
- Lincoln Riley – University of Oklahoma
- Mario Cristobal – University of Oregon
- Jonathan Smith – Oregon State University
- Jimbo Fisher – Texas A&M University
- Nick Saban – University of Alabama
- Kirby Smart – University of Georgia
- Mark Stoops – University of Kentucky