UTSA head coach Jeff Traylor has been tabbed a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, the Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced on Tuesday.
Traylor is one of 13 finalists for the award, joining Blake Anderson, Utah State; Dave Aranda, Baylor; Luke Fickell, Cincinnati; Thomas Hammock, NIU; Jim Harbaugh, Michigan; Billy Napier, Louisiana; Pat Narduzzi, Pitt; Nick Saban, Alabama; Kalani Sitake, BYU; Kirby Smart, Georgia; Mel Tucker, Michigan State; and Kyle Whittingham, Utah.
This honor comes one day after Traylor was named the 2021 Werner Ladder AFCA FBS Regional Coach of the Year for Region 4 and one of five finalists for the AFCA National Coach of the Year.
Also a member of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Awards Coach of the Year watch list, Traylor has guided the No. 24 Roadrunners to a 12-1 record and the program’s first conference championship in his second season at the helm, and he now will lead UTSA to its second straight and third overall bowl appearance. The Gilmer, Texas, native has registered a 19-6 record during his tenure in San Antonio, the best 25-game start in program history.
UTSA opened the 2021 campaign with a school-record 11 consecutive victories and has been ranked as high as 15th nationally. The Roadrunners secured their first Conference USA West Division crown with a 34-31 win over UAB on Nov. 20 before capturing the first league title in their 11-year history with a 49-41 home triumph over WKU in the C-USA Championship Game on Dec. 3. UTSA will face No. 24 San Diego State (11-2) in the Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl for its third bowl appearance in an ESPN broadcast set for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 21.
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 First Responder 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 13 Eddie Robinson Award finalists have been placed on a ballot which has been sent to the entire FWAA membership. The 2021 recipient will be announced on Monday, Dec. 20. The official presentation will be at a reception on Jan. 8 in Indianapolis prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship.
"The Allstate Sugar Bowl is honored to remember a Louisiana legend by sponsoring the FWAA Coach of the Year Award named after Coach Robinson," said Ralph Capitelli, Sugar Bowl Committee President. "In addition, we have the opportunity to give recognition to the best college coaches in the nation each year. We look forward to presenting the trophy to the winner in Indianapolis next month."
The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State's Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The FWAA coaching award was named after the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons, in 1997.
"We have a well-balanced group of finalists, geographically positioned across the country and coaches from all sizes of schools,” said FWAA Executive Director Steve Richardson. "Congratulations to all of the finalists for the great seasons they have had during the 2021 season."
The Eddie Robinson Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA), which encompasses the most prestigious awards in college football. Founded in 1997, the NCFAA and its 25 awards now boast over 800 recipients, dating to 1935. Visit ncfaa.org and @NCFAA on Twitter to learn more about the association.