Travis Trickett Thrilled To Be Back Home At WVU
Travis Trickett couldn’t stop smiling.
For more than an hour, West Virginia’s new inside receiver and tight ends coach sat in the Puskar Center team room and answered an endless string of questions from the rotating wave of media. And not once did he appear to grow tired of tedium.
After all, he was back home, and nothing could beat that.
On his WVU bio, Trickett is listed as a native of Hattiesburg, Miss. But when your father is a college football coach, much like a military child, your listed hometown is just usually the place where your parents temporarily resided when you were born.
Travis’ father, Rick, was the offensive line coach at Southern Miss in Hattiesburg for four seasons in the early ‘80s when he and wife Tara welcomed the first of their three sons. Thus Travis’ birthplace is Hattiesburg, but it’s not the place he and his brothers Chance and Clint call home.
That happens to be West Virginia, specifically Morgantown.
Rick is from Masontown, W.Va., which is about a half hour east of the University City. His recently-turned-93-year-old mother, Rose Mary Trickett, who is Travis’ grandmother, still lives there. After a stint in the Marines, Rick returned to West Virginia and attended Potomac State Junior College and eventually graduated from Glenville State College. He first coached at WVU from 1976-79 and then after eight other stops, returned to the Mountaineers in 2001 for a six-year stint as the program’s offensive line coach. It was during this time that Travis, Chance and Clint spent their formative years in the University City. Travis and Chance each graduated from Morgantown High School and then matriculated to West Virginia University. Clint, a few years younger, would have to wait a little while before eventually making his mark on the Mountaineers.
Travis’ own coaching career began during his WVU days, as he was a student assistant with the football program from 2003-07. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from West Virginia, and meeting his wife, Tiffany, who is a native of Doddridge County and also a WVU grad, Travis embarked on climbing the coaching ladder much like his father had done 40 years prior.
Graduate assistantships at Alabama (2007) and Florida State (2008-10) led to a full-time jobs at Samford University (2011-15), and then stops at Florida Atlantic (2016) and Georgia State (2017-18).
Then a couple weeks ago, he got a chance to come back home.
“For my family, this has always been THE job, not a job,” said Trickett. “To be able to come back and be under Coach (Neal) Brown, that’s incredible. When he got the job here, as an alum, I shot him a text to congratulate him. I was excited as a West Virginia guy that he was going up to my alma mater and be the head coach, because I knew he would do a great job. It just so happened to work out that we connected and talked. When he gave me that phone call (offering a job), it was unreal.”
Trickett had spent the past two years at Georgia State, serving as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. GSU iss in the same Sun Belt Conference as Brown’s Troy Trojans.
Travis and his family weren’t looking to leave the Atlanta-based university, but when the offer came to return to West Virginia, he and his wife knew it was something they could not pass up.
“As my career has gone, I’ve been at different places, and I’ve had great bosses,” Travis explained. “I’ve had great head coaches that I’ve worked under that have allowed me to do what I needed to do or wanted to do, and I can bounce things off of. I had great working environments, and me and my wife, we were happy in Atlanta. We have two children and another one on the way (due April 3), and we were settled. We were good. We bought a house, and you don’t buy a house in coaching unless you plan on being somewhere a while. We really wanted to build that thing up, and it was a big project. We knew it would take something life changing for me to leave there, and that was a life-changing phone call. So, we came back.”
Travis and Tiffany weren’t the only excited Tricketts. His father has lived for the past year in Glenville, working in an administrative role at GSU. Clint, who was the Mountaineers’ starting quarterback in 2013 and 2014, now is an assistant coach at Florida Atlantic. Meanwhile Chance is a scout for the Los Angeles Rams. All were thrilled by Travis’ new job.
“When this whole thing was happening, Clint was calling me about every hour asking, ‘Did you hear anything? Did you hear anything? Did you hear anything?’ ” Travis chuckled. “As a family, this University has meant everything to our family. It’s put food on our table and clothes on our backs when dad was here, and dad’s been here twice. It gave me my education, and it gave me my start in coaching. Both my brothers went to school here. My wife, she’s from Doddridge County, she went to school here and graduated with her nursing degree. This University has given so much to us.
“It’s always been a goal of any of ours to get back, whether it be myself, my brother Chance, my brother Clint. Whoever it is, we cheer each other on, and when this opportunity came, it was a joyous day. Everyone was excited, but the opportunity to do it with Coach Brown is what I’m more excited about than anything. Because I know, having gone against his teams, having to watch from afar and studying his habits on film, I know what kind of coach he is and what kind of program he runs. I’ve recruited against him for the past two years, and to be able to come in with him and knowing what we’re going to do and how he is, I’m tickled to death.”
The matriarch of the family, Rose Mary Trickett, is also happy to have her grandson nearby, as is Tiffany’s family.
“I actually went and saw my grandma yesterday,” Travis said. “Saturday was her 93rd birthday, so we drove out and my dad came up. We drove out to Preston County, and we sat down. She was excited. My whole dad’s side is from Preston County, and my wife’s side is all in the Clarksburg/Doddridge County area. Obviously, we have Tricketts all over the place. That phone’s been buzzing every day.”
Rick is a stern taskmaster who has left many a 300-pounder quivering. But when it came to profession of choice for his sons, none of the three listened to him.
“He did not want us to be a coach,” Travis remembered. “He actually went out of his way to tell us to not coach. ‘Y’all are too smart. You need to be a doctor or a lawyer.’
“At first, as a competitor, I wanted to coach for the competitive aspect. I wanted to be involved,” he added. “But when I started at West Virginia, I discovered my love for teaching, and I realized I like teaching, I like helping somebody get from point A to point B. They do the work, and they get the reward. That is what coaching is all about, when you see those guys. Not only that, as the years go on, you see them grow up as men, graduate, get jobs, help them get jobs, have former players come work for me. Those relationships, you get into coaching for selfish reasons, but as you go on, you realize that this is a servant position, and that’s what I enjoy the most.”
Now his teaching/coaching will be at a place he calls home.
“I left the office (at the Puskar Center on Sunday night) about 9:00 or 10:00,” Trickett smiled. “I got out to the parking lot and looked up, and I see the stadium, I see the flying WV on the side. I just stood there for about five minutes and thought, ‘Wow.’ I’m excited. I really am.”