GILMER, TX (KLTV) - What a week it's been for now former Gilmer head coach Jeff Traylor. Charlie Strong and the University of Texas officially announced on Friday morning that Traylor has been named the Longhorns tight ends and special teams coach.
In an exclusive on-camera interview with KLTV, Traylor admitted the decision to leave Gilmer after 15 seasons as the head man was the toughest one of his life.
"I never really thought that I would leave here," Traylor said. "There is only a couple schools I ever thought I would leave Gilmer for, and one of them called. I have an unbelievable faith in Coach Strong."
Traylor may be Austin-bound, but East Texas won't be left in the dust. In addition to coaching the Longhorn tight ends and special teams, the three-time state championship coach has been assigned to recruit in his own back yard.
"I am very partial to East Texas. I have lived here for 46 years and this is where all my buddies are," Traylor said. "I feel a huge responsibility to do good for them, and now they need to help me find some kids so we can take East Texas kids to Texas, or I probably won't be getting to coach there very long."
A 1986 graduate of Gilmer, Traylor racked up 175 wins in 15 seasons as the Buckeyes head man. This wasn't Traylor's first college job offer, so why leave now?
"It's the University of Texas and Charlie Strong," Traylor said. "That's the two biggest reasons. I have a lot of family here. So leaving Jake his senior year is going to be terrible. But, Coach Strong is going to get me to all the games that we can and that was huge. I have family and friends around that can help with my kids right now, and that had a lot to do with it."
And what else is there for Traylor to accomplish with the Buckeyes? The Gilmer native is a hometown hero and Traylor hopes he leaves behind a lasting legacy.
"I hope people would say we did it right, and how our kids played the game," Traylor said. "They played the right way, not hot-dogging, all about the team. I hope people remember we have a program here, which meant we loved the program more than we loved ourselves, which is very Biblical."
Traylor's close friend and big Buckeyes fan Joe Dodd added, "They have done it the right way and they really care about the kids. I think everyone is just very happy for Jeff because he is a hometown kid, and we are very happy for him and his success."
Traylor is the first to say his success and this day wouldn't be possible without the help of so many other people.
"Think of all the great players I've had," Traylor said. "Think of all the coaches that have helped me get this job. You don't do these things without a lot of help and I have been very blessed."