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Inside the Headset with the AFCA

Feb 3, 2022

This week on Inside the Headset, we are featuring the 2021 AFCA FBS Regional Coaches of the year. These coaches include Cincinnati Coach Luke Fickell, Arkansas Coach Sam Pittman, Michigan State Coach Mel Tucker, and UTSA Coach Jeff Traylor.

Luke Fickell recently completed his 5th season as the Head Coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats. Fickell has found much success with the Bearcats where he has led Cincinnati to back-to-back 11-win campaigns in 2018 and 2019 and an undefeated regular season that culminated with a Peach Bowl berth in 2020, before leading the Bearcats to the greatest season in school history in 2021, including an appearance in the College Football Playoff Semifinals at the Cotton Bowl and the first-ever 13-0 regular-season record in school history. Prior to Cincinnati, Fickell coach at the University of Ohio State from 2002-2016 where he served in many different roles including defensive coordinator and head coach.

Sam Pittman recently completed his second season as the Arkansas Head Coach. Pittman has brought the razorbacks immediate success in the SEC while leading the program to its most wins in 6 years. The Oklahoma native has coached at seven different Power 5 schools during his 32 years of coaching, including Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee. With a wealth of experience, Pittman is widely regarded as one of the nation’s best coaches when it comes to developing offensive talent as he has coached seven offensive linemen that were selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Mel Tucker, a 25-year coaching veteran recently completed his second season as the Head Coach of Michigan State. In 149 games as a full-time coach in the FBS, Tucker’s teams have collected a 108-41 (.725) record, including 10 postseason bowl games. three conference championships, three national championship games and two national championships. Tuckers impressive resume include coaching stops at Colorado, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, LSU in addition to multiple NFL teams.

Jeff Traylor recently completed his second season as the Head Coach at UTSA. This past season, Traylor led the roadrunners to a program record 11 regular season wins, won the school’s first C-USA Championship Title and earned a berth to the Tropical Smoothie Café Frisco Bowl. Traylor has been honored for his success as the 2021 C-USA Coach of the Year, the AFCA FBS Regional Coach of the Year for Region 4. Traylor has more than 30 years of coaching experience including a highly successful 15-year career as head coach at Gilmer High School, where he led teams to three state championships and two state runner-up finishes.

  • [1:00] Start of Roundtable
  • [1:49] Cincinnati’s historic 2021 season
  • [4:45] Using experience to build leadership
  • [7:54] Finding guys in the transfer portal that fit your program
  • [11:40] Building culture by building relationships
  • [14:30] Personal stories from past conventions