MORGANTOWN — Travis Trickett’s second stint in Morgantown will be a little different than his first go-around 20 years ago.
Trickett was the final piece of West Virginia coach Neal Brown’s coaching staff and it was confirmed Monday that Trickett will work with inside receivers and tight ends after spending the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Georgia State.
Serving a prominent role on a Power-5 coaching staff, especially at WVU, has always been a goal for the 34-year-old. But even he wasn’t sure how realistic that was when his father, Rick, was the offensive line coach for the Mountaineers from 2001-’06.
From his time as a backup with the Morgantown High football team to becoming a student assistant with the Mountaineers, Trickett considered himself “just a guy.”
“Whenever you go back and look, you always wish you got more out of what you did — I always wish I got more out of this experience,” Trickett said. “When I was here, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to play and if I did, it was going to be a holder or something like that.
“But even then, I knew I wanted to coach.”
During his senior year at MHS in 2002, Trickett watched as the Mohigans went 13-0 and won the state championship in head coach Glen McNew’s final season.
“The brotherhood we had there was phenomenal,” Trickett said. “My best friend in the world was Seth Fogarty, but it was him having 1,000 yards and Ronnie Rodamer scoring 50 touchdowns as to why that’s considered one of the best high school teams in West Virginia history. But I really respected and learned a lot from coach McNew.”
Learning from McNew and obviously his father, Trickett got the itch to coach, but Rick did not want his son to ride his coattail through the ranks. The elder Trickett was one of the most respected offensive line coaches in the country, serving at Mississppi State, Auburn and LSU before returning to West Virginia.
When Travis told his dad he wanted to get into coaching, he made him create his own path, and that was approaching then-WVU coach Rich Rodriguez about finding a place on the team.
“I went in there, talked to coach Rodriguez, and he let me be a student assistant,” Trickett said. “I worked for two years on the defensive side with coach [Bill Kirelawich] and then two years on offense, and what it did for me was make me grow up pretty quickly.”
Trickett walked a fine line since he was friends with a lot of the players, but was also involved in personnel meetings with the coaching staff. But listening to the coaches make calls like Phil Brady’s fake punt in the Sugar Bowl in over Georgia or the decision to put Pat White in over an injured Adam Bednarik in 2005 were valuable experiences Trickett holds close today.
“Going through those experiences made me get a feel about how college football is supposed to be,” he said. “Even when I was at Alabama, I was there the one year under Nick Saban where they didn’t win 10 games in 2007. But to see what coach Saban had to do to implement what he wanted done helped me learn what it’s like at this level.”
After his stint with the Crimson Tide, Trickett spent three years at Florida State and watched the transition from Bobby Bowden to Jimbo Fisher. He then spent the next five seasons at Samford before becoming the offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic and Georgia State.
But when Brown contacted Trickett to come back to West Virginia, that was one of the easiest decisions he’s had in his young coaching career.
He even got to celebrate his grandmother’s 93rd birthday last Saturday in Masontown.
“We hopped in the car, drove out 20 minutes to Preston County and got to see her, and now, I can go see her any time I want,” Trickett said. “To be able to do that and have my children grow up around their family and my wife’s family — she’s from Salem — is a great feeling.”
Trickett’s kids — son, Maverick, 4, and daughter, Camilla, 2 — already know the words to “Country Roads,” and another son is expected in early April.
“Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer, and that’s just what you do,” he said. “For me to have an office in the same building my dad had an office in, you can’t put a price tag on that. It’s always been a dream of mine and to live it out, it’s exciting.”