I know what you're thinking, "Oh for cripes sake, Its a Penn State Guy, Go figure." Well that would be true, but this Penn State Guy has what it takes to be the next coach for THE State University of New York at Buffalo. At the very least, he should be on AD Danny White's interview list immediately.
To begin this little introduction, here's his wiki page Tom Bradley - American Football.
Bradley played defensive back from 1975 - 1978 for Joe Paterno. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration and went on to get his Masters in Sports Administration. The year after graduation, he joined the Penn State Staff as a graduate assistant. For 21 years, he worked his way up the coaching staff taking on the role of coach of numerous positions. Running Backs, Wide Receivers, Defensive Backs, Outside Linebackers, Special Teams.
Finally in 2000, Bradley took over the Defensive side of "Linebacker U" as Defensive Coordinator. When all hell broke loose in State College during the 2011 season, the result, when the Board of Trustees finally came out of hiding (Believe me I'm being really kind here) during the tumultuous week when the Sandusky story broke and fired Paterno, was them tapping Bradley to take over the reigns as Interim Head Coach and finished out the season. He went 1-3 (including the Bowl Game) as Head Coach, but the one victory came against Ohio State in Columbus. Yes the 1-3 record seems scary, but considering the cluster-you know what that was Penn State at the end of 2011, to get one win is outstanding. He took two years off, by his choice, and is now back coaching, this season at West Virginia as the Defensive Line Coach and more Importantly, Senior Associate Head Coach.
Thanks to Mr. David Brand, when I threw this at him for his honest opinion, he came back with some legitimate concerns in regards to Bradley. These are great, legitimate questions, and I'll try to address them. The easiest one is his age. Bradley is 57. Is that to old to be a MAC coach? Well, Jeff Quinn was 52. Frank Solich at Ohio is 70. Also, at "this year's up and coming MAC team," Akron, Bowden is 58. So I don't think age is too big of a concern. Besides, how many 57 year olds do you see with a Twitter handle, yup, @TomScrapBradley if you're into that sort of thing.
Well Jeff Quinn was a lifelong staffer, how well did that work out? 33 years as an assistant is a very long time as an assistant. But considering he was under a head coach who had already coached 45 years, you're dealing with a unique situation here. Most people are under the opinion that Bradley was the heir apparent to Paterno. Had the Sandusky story not thrown a giant nuclear sized grenade into Penn State, and with Paterno's ailing health, Bradley would have been Penn State's head man, the man, the following season. Also, as I said above, Bradley chose to take some time off from coaching, but all the time waiting to get back to work. Anybody who was around the situation in Penn State, I can imagine they needed some time to clear their heads. Bradley however didn't sit idle, and took a job with CBS Sports as a color analyst.
How do you explain the potential skeleton in the closet as it relates to the Sandusky Scandal. Well, first off, if you trust what you were spoon fed by the fools at E$PiN or other mass media outlets, you basically got 30%, that's being generous, of the story. Anything related to Paterno, was thrown out with the bath water after the 2011 season, deserved or not. Bradley did not deserve what he got, and he shouldn't have to pay for it. But, you handle it just like West Virginia did before hiring him. They read the Freeh Report (the "end all be all report on the Sandusky Scandal" for most people that really didn't pay to much attention) and not once is Bradley mentioned in that report. If a Power 5 conference team is willing to go out on a limb for Scrap, and drooling at the chance to bring him in, then any mid major would be stupid to not at least give him a shot.
Finally, Is he a sexy enough hire for Danny White, is he a big splash? I thought about this, I don't care, I don't need him to be sexy, I need him to win football games. Besides, Bradley's personality will blend well with the WNY area. He's a blue collar guy from Western Pennsylvania, people will love him.
Now that we got the potential "negatives" out of the way, I'll finish this with the positives. The why Bradley would make perfect sense for UB.
Here are his coaching credentials from West Virginia's website. This guy can flat out coach. He loves coaching. Look at what Penn State accomplished under his tutelage. Players love him, and players love to play for him. He runs a "bend but don't break" style defense.
WAIT WAIT, STOP, DON'T RUN AWAY!!!! The difference is, this bend but don't break defense, DOESN'T BREAK.
After 33 years recruiting for Penn State, he can walk into any high school in the North East, Mid West, and Mid Atlantic and they will know who he is, period. Over the course of 33 years, that gives you connections across the entire country to find those hidden gems.
Speaking of those connections, it also to point out that those 33 years as a coach will give him a plethora of connections to be able to fill out a coaching staff to help him here at UB.
When the Sandusky story broke, people said that Paterno's "Success with Honor" and the Grand Experiment were dead. Well, I'm here to tell you its not. It still lives in those players and coaches who had the chance to be with Paterno. One of the things we did see as progress with Quinn was elevating the academic standing of the team. That will only improve with Bradley. He truly cares about his players, takes the time to really get to know them as people and students first.
I think I saw this bantered about on Black Shoe Diaries a bit. Bradley is a Western Pennsylvania guy. And there's an assumption that he doesn't want to stray to far from his roots. Having a chance to finally take over his own team, and have it in Buffalo isn't too far from is roots, and it might be appealing to him.
Finally, Penn State Alumni are everywhere. Whether its here or NYC, or anywhere UB would play, there's going to be Penn State fans who will gravitate toward Bradley. He garnered that much respect from the Penn State faithful. They have been waiting for him to get his just due, UB should give him that.
Finally, Ill leave you with this. His nickname is "Scrap", earned during his playing days. How can you not want a head coach that has the nickname like "scrap"?