As an undergraduate at the Ohio State University, Trautman was a three-sport letterwinner in football, basketball and baseball. After graduation he became an assistant athletic director under Lynn St. John. As assistant athletic director, Trautman was instrumental in helping to establish the Ohio Relays.
When St. John gave up his basketball coaching duties, he assigned them to Trautman. Trautman held the position of men's basketball head coach for three years. In those three years he had an overall record of 29-33.
Under Trautman's leadership, a new relationship was forged between the major leagues and the minor leagues. Territorial rights, which had been in dispute, were established so that if the major leagues took over a National Association city, compensation would be due to both the existing team and its league.