After a week of speculation, longtime Gilmer athletic director and head football coach Jeff Traylor was officially hired as the new tight ends and special teams coach at the University of Texas.

Traylor, who has spent the previous 15 seasons coaching his alma mater, interviewed for the vacant position with Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong and staff earlier this week, and Texas made the hire official Friday morning.

 

The job became open after Texas fired Bruce Chambers, a holdover from the Mack Brown regime, following the 2014 season. The Longhorns also expressed interest in Cedar Hill head football coach Joey McGuire, but he withdrew himself from consideration last weekend.

"Honestly, I was extremely happy in my hometown (of Gilmer)," Traylor said in a press release. "This is where I was raised. There were only a couple of schools I would consider leaving for, and one of those schools called. Having an opportunity to coach at The University of Texas is a dream come true. It's special because of what it stands for in the state, the tradition, the pride, and how proud people are to be from there. It's just a unique place. They do things right, and who doesn't want to be a part of that? When you believe in the man that's calling you, and you believe in the place you're going, you've got to go be a part of it."

Texas accomplished two main objectives in hiring Traylor. The Longhorns will be getting a coach who was immensely popular among his players, and are hoping he can help Texas win recruiting battles in East Texas.

Gilmer cornerback Kris Boyd was the only player from the region Texas signed in the 2015 class, while the Longhorns' chief in-state rival -- Texas A&M -- brought in five East Texas signees.

"Jeff's a tremendous football coach who has built a program at Gilmer that has had unbelievable success," Strong said. "He's a guy that we've watched, admired and really gotten to know. The thing about Jeff is he's just so passionate about the game and his players. We had a chance to get him in for an interview and around our staff, and he really impressed all of us. He has a great deal of knowledge and experience and having coached in this state for so long, really knows Texas. East Texas has so many great players that it really helps us to have a guy like Jeff on staff that knows the area so well. We're excited to have him on board."

Traylor is one of the most accomplished high school football coaches the East Texas area has ever produced. He compiled a 175-26 record in his 15 years on the Gilmer sidelines, winning state championships in 2004, 2009 and 2014. Traylor-led teams also played for two other titles in 2007 and 2012.

"The first thing that drew me to this opportunity was Coach Strong and his core beliefs," Traylor said. "I've listened to him recruit my kids, and I just liked what he was saying. I've been down (in Austin), and I see that his words match his actions. He's a man's man, and I want to help him. He offered me a chance to do that, so I took him up on it. He's done an amazing job. I felt at home the whole time I was there. They're tough, they work their kids hard, but they love their kids. They're good men, they're honest people, and they're just tough. They're the kind of men you want your son to play for. I can't wait to go to work with all of them."

Under Traylor, Gilmer has also produced dozens of Division I FBS signees, including three who signed with Texas -- Boyd, Curtis Brown, and David Snow.

Gilmer's search for a replacement is expected to begin immediately. There are several qualified candidates currently on staff, including offensive coordinator Matt Turner, quarterbacks coach Alan Metzel, and defensive coordinator Todd Barr. All three have been on Traylor's staff for several years.

The Buckeyes, defending Class 4A Division II state champs, will have some holes to fill on an offense that scored the second-most points in a single season in state history last fall. But the defense returns several key impact players, including 2016 linebacker and Texas commit Demarco Boyd, 2017 linebacker Kelton Collier, and 2017 defensive back Kollin Hurt.

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Jeff Traylor: By The Numbers

  • 2000 -- 6-4
  • 2001 -- 8-3 (3A Division I bi-district finalist)
  • 2002 -- 8-3 (3A Division II bi-district finalist)
  • 2003 -- 13-1 (3A Division II quarterfinalist)
  • 2004 -- 16-0 (3A Division II state champion)
  • 2005 -- 10-2 (3A Division II area finalist)
  • 2006 -- 10-1 (3A Division I bi-district finalist)
  • 2007 -- 14-1 (3A Division I state finalist)
  • 2008 -- 12-2 (3A Division II quarterfinalist)
  • 2009 -- 15-0 (3A Division I state champion)
  • 2010 -- 9-4 (3A Division II regional semifinalist)
  • 2011 -- 13-1 (3A Division II quarterfinalist)
  • 2012 -- 14-2 (3A Division II state finalist)
  • 2013 -- 11-2 (3A Division II regional semifinalist)
  • 2014 -- 16-0 (4A Division II state champion)
Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor hoists the trophy after the Buckeyes' 35-25 win over West Orange-Stark in the Class 4A Division II championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. (Jeff Stapleton, ETSN.fm)