Tricketts a family affair at WVU
MORGANTOWN — New West Virginia University football coach Neal Brown introduced his first Mountaineer coaching staff to the media Monday morning at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Among the 10 men were some new faces and some familiar ones, but of the group, perhaps none is more intimately acquainted with WVU as a school, football program and community as newly minted tight ends and inside receivers coach Travis Trickett.
If his name sounds familiar, it should. Trickett comes from family packed with football coaches — all with ties directly to Morgantown and WVU.
Trickett’s father is Rick Trickett, a longtime college football assistant coach who specializes in the offensive line, who has had stops in Morgantown as well as Florida State, Louisiana State and Auburn on his resume. Travis Trickett’s younger brother, Clint, was
Travis Trickett returns to West Virginia after two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Georgia State with stops at Florida Atlantic and Samford prior to that.
“Deep West Virginia ties,” Brown said of Trickett. “Morgantown High graduate, West Virginia grad, student assistant for coach (Rich) Rodriguez (at WVU), GA (graduate assistant) for coach (Nick) Saban (at Alabama) and coach (Jimbo) Fisher (at Florida State). Dad, obviously, a longtime offensive line coach and nationally known. Travis has been offensive coordinator the last seven years of his career and is highly regarded as a recruiter as well.”
Trickett had the opportunity to watch Brown up close as rivals the last few seasons in the Sun Belt Conference, so when the Mountaineers hired Brown, Trickett reached out to offer his congratulations as an alum and supporter of the program.
“When he got the job, just as an alum, I shot him and text and said, ‘Hey, congrats and I’m excited.’” Trickett said. “I was excited just being a West Virginia guy that he was going to go up to my alma mater and be the head coach because I knew he was going to do a great job. It just so happened to work out that we connected and talked, and when he gave me that phone call. ... it’s unreal.”
It was a phone call Trickett said he had been waiting for his entire career. He was in a good position at Georgia State and it was going to take something special to relocate his growing family
from Atlanta. WVU, for Trickett, was that something special.
“As my career has gone, I’ve been in different places and I’ve had great bosses,” Trick-ett said. “I’ve had great head coaches that I’ve worked under that allowed me to kind of do what I needed to do or wanted to do, and I can bounce things off them. I’ve had great working environments and me and my wife, we were happy in Atlanta. We have two children and another one on the way, and we were settled. We bought a house — you don’t buy a house in coaching unless you plan on being somewhere. We really wanted to build that thing up.
“We knew it was a big project, but when I got that phone call — we knew it would take something life-changing for me to leave there, and that was a life-changing phone call. To be able to come back — I left the office last night about 9 or 10 o’clock. I got out to the parking lot and just looked up to see the stadium and see the ’Flying WV” on the side, I stood there for about five minutes like, ‘Wow.’”
Brown was not the only one calling Trickett, however.
“When this whole thing was happening Clint was calling me about every hour like, ‘Hey did you hear anything? Did you hear anything?’” Trickett said. “As a family, this university has meant everything to our family. It put food on our table and clothes on our backs when dad was here. Dad’s been here twice. It gave me my education and 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 a nursing degree.
“This university has given so much to us, and so 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. When this opportunity came by, it was a joyous day and everyone was excited.”
And like any good West Virginia boy, one of the first orders of business for Trickett upon his return home was to take a trip to the country to visit his grandmother.
“I actually went and saw my grandma yesterday,” Trickett said. “Saturday was her 93rd birthday so we drove out and my dad came up. We drove out to Preston County and she was excited. She’s really excited. My whole dad’s side of the family is from Preston County, my wife’s family is all in the Clarksburg and Doddridge County area and obviously we have Tricketts in Clarksburg and all over the places — that phone has been buzzing every day.”