By Cam Huffman
Just hours after telling the media he was looking for the “best available” assistant coach to fill the vacancy on the West Virginia University football staff, head coach Dana Holgorsen got his man.
In a release sent at by the university Friday night, Holgorsen officially announced the hiring of former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley as the senior associate head football coach for the Mountaineers. The release said Holgorsen would determine Bradley’s position assignment at a later time.
“Tom brings numerous years of successful college coaching experience and versatility,” said Holgorsen. “He is an excellent defensive teacher, and I know he will work extremely well with Tony (Gibson), our defensive coordinator. The two have known each other for quite some time and share many of the same philosophies. We have put together a strong defensive staff under Tony’s leadership.”
Bradley spent 33 years at Penn State under coaching legend Joe Paterno, the last 12 as defensive coordinator. He also served the final four games as interim head coach after Paterno’s dismissal. Bradley helped the Nittany Lions to 13 double-figure win seasons, 26 bowl appearances and a pair of national titles.
“I am truly excited to join the West Virginia football program,” said Bradley. “I want to thank coach Dana Holgorsen and Oliver Luck for this tremendous opportunity to contribute to the continued growth and success of the Mountaineer football program. Tony Gibson and I have recruited against each other in Pennsylvania for a lot of years, and it will be good to finally be on his side. I look forward to working with my friend to build a strong defensive unit at West Virginia.
“It has always been my primary goal as a coach and educator to help the student-athletes succeed on the football field, but more importantly as students and future graduates. I look forward to meeting the team, coaches, support staff, faculty, administration and West Virginia alumni. West Virginia has a great history and tradition, and I am honored to be a part of its future.”
Bradley has coached six positions — including defensive ends, outside linebackers, defensive backs and special teams — giving Holgorsen some options on how to best use his abilities.
His strengths extend well beyond his play-calling duties — where he helped Penn State to six consecutive Top 15 finishes in total defense and scoring defense from 2004 through 2009. In 2005, he was ranked as one of the Top 10 recruiters in the nation by SportsIllustrated.com.
A former Penn State letterman, the Johnstown, Pa., native began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Nittany Lions in 1979. Bradley’s Penn State teams faced off against WVU 14 times during his tenure, winning all but two of those contests.
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