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Tom Bradley Named UCLA’s Defensive Coordinator

After spending 32 seasons on the Penn State coaching staff and one season as the assistant head coach at West Virginia under Dana Holgorsen, Tom Bradley will move to the West Coast to become the next defensive coordinator at UCLA. ESPN’s Kevin Gemmell confirmed the news on Monday afternoon.

Bradley inherits a UCLA program that has talent on the defensive side of the ball (see Jack, Myles), but has not been able to stop the potent offensive attacks in the Pac 12. The Bruins finished 63rd in the country in total defense (398.5 yards per game) and 75th in scoring defense (28.1 yards per game) last season.

Bradley, a Johnstown native, played defensive back at Penn State from 1975-1978 under Joe Paterno before joining the coaching staff in 1979 as a graduate assistant. Nicknamed “Scrap” for his gritty playing style, Bradley was named an assistant coach after his first season on staff. In 1999, he was promoted to defensive coordinator to replace the departing Jerry Sandusky, and held the position for the next 12 years.

After Joe Paterno was fired by the university’s board of trustees in November 2011, Bradley was named the program’s interim head coach. Although Bradley only finished with one victory in the four remaining games, he helped guide Penn State to a thrilling 20-14 victory over Ohio State in Columbus, the first win without Joe Paterno on staff since Nov. 12, 1949, a 28-7 victory at Temple.

Fiercely loyal to Penn State, Bradley was reported to have interviewed for head coaching positions at Temple and Pitt prior to the 2011 season, but chose to remain with the Lions. However, he was passed over to be the next full-time coach in favor of Bill O’Brien, and spent the next two seasons providing football color analyst for CBS Sports.

During his coaching career, Bradley has proven himself to be one of the best defensive minds in the business. He was named the Associated Press Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 2005 and Rivals Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 2008, and finished as the second best Rivals Defensive Coordinator in 2011. From 2004 to 2011, Penn State’s defense ranked third in the nation in scoring defense (16.4 points per game) and fifth in total defense (298.7 yards per game), while finishing in the top 15 in the six primary defensive categories in 2009.

Bradley is also celebrated for being an outstanding recruiter, helping secure commitments from Nittany Lion greats such as Shane Conlan, Lavar Arrington, Paul Posluszny, Sean Lee, Brandon Short, and Justin King.

Congratulations “Scrap” on the new job. We wish you the best of luck next season and beyond.

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About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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