MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Travis Trickett’s second stint in Morgantown will be a little different than his first go-around nearly 20 years ago.
The final piece of West Virginia coach Neal Brown’s staff, Trickett confirmed Monday that he will work with inside receivers and tight ends. He spent the last two seasons as offensive coordinator at Georgia State.
Serving a prominent role on a Power Five coaching staff has always been a goal for Trickett. Now the 34-year-old gets to do so at WVU, the place where he started as a student assistant.
But Trickett wasn’t sure how realistic that was, even though 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 was part of a squad that went 13-0 and won the state championship in 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 Geremy 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 of Coach McNew.”
Trickett got the itch to coach, but Rick did not want his son to ride his coattail through the ranks. By that point the elder Trickett had coached offensive lines at Mississppi State, Auburn and LSU before returning to West Virginia.
When Travis told his dad he wanted to get into coaching, he had to create his own path, which meant approaching then-WVU coach Rich Rodriguez about finding a place.
“I went in there, talked to Coach Rodriguez, and he let me be a student assistant,” Trickett said. He worked for two years on the defensive side with coach Bill Kirelawich and then two years on offense. “It made me grow up pretty quickly.”
Walking a fine line considering he was friends with many players, Trickett was also involved in personnel meetings with the coaching staff. Listening to the coaches call Phil Brady’s fake punt in the Sugar Bowl win over Georgia, or the decision to put Pat White in over an injured Adam Bednarik during 2005, became 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.”
Trickett spent three years at Florida State, watching the transition from Bobby Bowden to Jimbo Fisher, and worked five seasons at Samford before becoming the offensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic and Georgia State.
When Brown contacted Trickett about coming back to West Virginia, it was an easy decision. 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 — Maverick, 4, and Camilla, 2 — already know the words to “Country Roads.” Another son is expected in 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.”