Tom Bradley Holds Press Conference
Tom Bradley took the podium in the Beaver Stadium media room for the first time as head coach of the Penn State football team on Thursday afternoon. Bradley, in his 33rd season on the staff, has held the defensive coordinator position since Jerry Sandusky retired in 1998. He takes over for Joe Paterno, who was fired late Wednesday night.
“I take this job with mixed emotions,” Bradley said. “I just want to do the best job I can do for the football team.”
Bradley fielded a variety of questions, but many tried to pry information about the Sandusky scandal from him. To almost every question, Bradley responded by saying that on advice of counsel he was not to respond due to the ongoing investigation. Bradley did say, however, that he was unaware of the allegations in 1998 and 2002 pertaining to Sandusky.
While most of Bradley’s answers were clipped and unemotional, Bradley was visually responsive when asked about Paterno.
“Coach Paterno has meant more to me than anyone except my father,” Bradley said. “He will go down in history as one of the greatest men…I’ve had the privilege and the honor to work for him, spend time with him, and he’s had such a dynamic impact on so many people and players’ lives. It’s with great respect that I speak of him and I’m proud to say that I worked for him.”
Bradley received the call asking him to become head coach while he was watching film late at night on Wednesday. He has spoken to Paterno over the phone and expects to speak again with him in the near future. Bradley would not reveal details about the phone call, saying that it was personal.
With regard to Mike McQueary, who many think should have been fired along with Paterno, Bradley said that he will be with the team on Saturday. However, it will be a game-time decision whether he will coach on the field or from the press box. Bradley would not comment on why Paterno was fired, while McQueary was not. Instead, Bradley said that that decision was up to the board of trustees.
During the 30-minute press conference, Bradley also talked about how this would affect the team.
Bradley said, “We have great leadership on this football team. This team has put a lot of hard work in. They deserve to have [senior] day.”
He said that the team is obviously affected by this “whirlwind” of circumstances, but that come Saturday, it will be “business as usual.”
At several points during the press conference, Bradley stopped to comment on the victims of this terrible tragedy.
“I grieve for the victims. I grieve for the families. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them,” Bradley said.