SPARTANBURG, SC -- Wofford head baseball coach Steve Traylor has announced that he plans to retire from coaching at the conclusion of the 2007 season. Traylor plans to remain at Wofford and continue to teach in the physical education department and direct the campus intramural/recreation programs.
Traylor, who ranks among the top 30 active NCAA coaches in America with 769 victories, has spent 27 seasons as a college head coach and has compiled an all-time record of 769-667-3. Traylor entered the 2007 season ranked 29th in career victories among college coaches with at least five years as a head coach.
Traylor became Wofford’s head coach prior to the 2000 season. After spending the first four seasons playing in Spartanburg’s Duncan Park, Traylor and the Terriers moved into Russell C. King Field prior to the 2004 season. During his tenure at Wofford, Traylor has coached one Academic All-America player, two Freshman All-Americans, six All-Southern Conference selections and had 17 players selected to the Academic All-Southern Conference team. He has compiled a record of 145-274 in eight seasons at Wofford
"The eight years I have spent coaching baseball at Wofford have been extremely gratifying," said Traylor. "We have had many talented student-athletes earn their degrees from Wofford and I am glad that I was able to be a part of the baseball program."
Traylor cited time with his family as a reason for his decision to step down. His daughter Danielle, 18, will be a college freshman in the fall and his son, Ryan, 16, is a rising junior at Spartanburg High School, where he plays baseball.
"Being a college coach is more than a full-time job," said Traylor. "Between coaching and recruiting, we miss a lot of time with our families, both in-season and during the off-season. Stepping down at this time will afford me the opportunity to participate in my daughter’s college experience, spend more time with my wife and watch my son play baseball."
"We are very appreciative of Coach Traylor’s efforts over the last eight years," said Athletics Director Richard Johnson. "His record of nearly 800 wins speaks for itself. He has successfully built programs at Florida Atlantic and Duke and he did the same with the Wofford. Coach Traylor has always placed a high value on academic achievement and his student-athletes met those goals. He was instrumental in bringing baseball back on campus with the construction of Russell C. King Field/Switzer Stadium. I believe Coach Traylor has set a solid foundation for the future of the Terrier baseball program."
Wofford will conduct a national search to find its next baseball coach.
Traylor began his baseball coaching career as the head coach at Florida Atlantic in 1981. He brought the team to fruition and spent seven seasons with the Owls. In 1988, Traylor was named the head coach at Duke and spent the next 12 years skippering the Blue Devils. In 1999, Wofford named Traylor as its head coach. He is winding up his eighth season with the Terriers. Wofford is currently second in the nation in home runs with a school record 92. The Terriers have also set school records this season for runs scored, hits, RBIs and total bases in a season.
In each of his three head coaching positions, Traylor has become the second-winningest coach in school history. He won 286 games in seven seasons at Florida Atlantic University, a program that he started from scratch in 1981. Traylor is second in school history in wins at Duke, having won 356 games in 12 seasons from 1988 to 1999. His 145 wins at Wofford are second only to Mark Line’s 210 wins from 1986-95.
Over the course of his career, Traylor has coached six players that reached the Major Leagues including Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Chris Capuano and New York Mets reliever Scott Schoeneweis. He was named the NAIA District 25 Coach of the Year in 1983 while at Florida Atlantic and was the ACC Coach of the Year in 1992 while at Duke. Traylor was also honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association for 25 years of service to college baseball.
Traylor has also been a mentor to a number of former players and assistant coaches who have gone on to successful coaching careers. Pat Murphy, the head coach at Arizona State University, played and coached for Traylor at Florida Atlantic. Duke’s current head coach, Sean McNally, was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection who reached the AAA level as an infielder before returning to Duke in 2005 as head coach. Bruce Barclay, an assistant coach at FAU, became the head coach at Barry University in Miami. Three former Traylor assistant coaches at Wofford have gone on to successful careers in baseball. Jason Eller is now an assistant coach at Georgia, Scott Jackson is an assistant at UNC Wilmington, and former pitching coach Spencer Graham is now a scout for the Kansas City Royals.
Traylor’s teams have posted a winning record in 15 of his 27 seasons. He has recorded 13 seasons of 30 or more wins and five 40-win seasons during his career. He has been inducted into three separate Halls of Fame including the FAU Baseball Hall of Fame and the FAU Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. He was an inaugural inductee into each Hall.
There have been a number of memorable wins during Traylor’s career. In April of this year, the Terriers trailed Tennessee 9-2 in the seventh inning before posting a come-from-behind 16-9 win over the Volunteers. In 2006, Wofford defeated 10th-ranked South Carolina 9-8 in the Terriers’ first win over the Gamecocks since 1947.
In each of the first three seasons under Traylor, Wofford posted its highest victory totals since beginning Division I play in 1996. The Terriers won 16 games in 2000 and 17 in 2001 before posting 26 victories in 2002, which also marked the highest win total for Wofford since a school record 30 victories in 1991. Traylor guided the Terriers to 14 league wins in 2002 for their best total in five seasons of SoCon play. Wofford’s 23 victories thus far in 2007 mark the second-highest win total in the Division I era.
Traylor is a 1973 graduate of Otterbein College (Ohio), where he received an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship while lettering in football, basketball and baseball. He deferred the scholarship for a year while he prepared for preseason training camp with the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League. After being cut, Traylor earned his master’s degree at Ohio State while serving as a volunteer assistant baseball coach at Otterbein. He was promoted to full-time status on the Otterbein staff and remained there until being named the head basketball coach and athletic director at Greensboro College in 1976. After three years, Traylor was given the opportunity to start the FAU baseball program.
Traylor was selected to the Westerville South High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.
Traylor and his wife, Debbie, have two children: Danielle, 18, and Ryan, 16. Traylor has been active as a coach for Ryan’s youth baseball teams.