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Adding a Scrap

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West Virginia University prides itself in its football team. Both the school and the state itself pride themselves in WVU athletics. It was a prideful day, then, when WVU’s football team hired Tom Bradley as senior associate head coach in February.

Bradley was a member of Joe Paterno’s staff for 33 seasons at Penn State, serving as defensive coordinator for the final 11 years. He took over as the Nittany Lions’ interim head coach after Paterno was fired during the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. 

When Penn State hired Bill O’Brien as head coach that offseason, Bradley stepped away from coaching and into the broadcast booth. He spent two years working for Clear Channel and CBS Sports Network.

For the man long known as “Scrap,” not coaching wasn’t an option. He was still doing it even as a broadcaster.

“I used to watch him in any stadium we went into,” said CBSSports broadcaster Ben Holden, Bradley’s former partner. “He would go down on the field. He wanted to be down on the field in practice. He would call coaches over. He would tell this guy what to do. He didn’t do it in a demeaning way, it was more of a suggestive way.”

Now Bradley is back on the sidelines and happy to call Morgantown his home. He wears the flying WV with pride and a smile.

After the Mountaineers’ 4-8 finish last fall, a season during which the defense allowed 454.3 yards and 33.3 points a game, defensive coordinator Keith Patterson left for Arizona State. Head coach Dana Holgorsen promoted safeties coach Tony Gibson to defensive coordinator and asked Bradley to come aboard as the defensive line coach as well as associate head coach.

Bradley and Gibson had known each other for a long time. The two recruited against one another for several years. Bradley was ready to recruit with him for a change.

Growing up in Johnston, Bradley was familiar with West Virginia. He played in Morgantown as a defensive back for the Nittany Lions and coached against the Mountaineers as a member of the Penn State staff. The decision to join the Mountaineers’ coaching staff made sense for Bradley.

“I think it was a situation that was good for me,” Bradley said. “I was really interested in the way they (Holgorsen and athletic airector Oliver Luck) presented what they were trying to get done here.”

As a seasoned veteran who was responsible for some of the best defenses in college football while at Penn State, Bradley brings tremendous knowledge of the game to West Virginia.

“Bradley has a wealth of experience and that will only translate on the field and off as the Mountaineers move forward,” said Keenan Cummings, WVSports.com senior writer. “Something that has been evident the first couple games is an area he focused on during the off-season, and that was being disruptive with the pass rush even without getting a sack.”

Some fans and media questioned Luck’s motives on the hire, wondering aloud if he was brought on board as an insurance policy in case Holgorsen struggled again. Keenan doesn’t believe it was anything more than a good hire.

“I don’t believe there is any secret formula to the marriage,” he said. “But it was just the right place and the right time for the veteran assistant.”
West Virginia Tom Bradley
The Mountaineer faithful are hopeful they not only get a great coach but an even better human being.

Holden called Bradley “one of the best coaches, innovative, smart, tremendous with people, a coachable guy, fun to be around, willing to learn.”

“He is one of the best people I have ever met in my life, whether it’s in broadcasting or in general,” said Holden. “He is a phenomenal friend, a phenomenal person, and he would do anything to help anybody. I have seen it.”

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