The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

College

July 17, 2008

Paterno sees bright future in coaching for Tom Bradley

Johnstown’s Tom Bradley has been labeled a potential successor to Penn State coach Joe Paterno for years.

Paterno, 81, believes Bradley is qualified to hold a head coaching position, whether it be at Penn State or elsewhere. But JoePa, in his 43rd season as the Nittany Lions’ head coach, has spent the summer planning for the upcoming Big Ten schedule rather than discussing retirement possibilities.

“I think Tom and a couple other guys on that staff will make good head coaches,” Paterno said prior to speaking at a Thursday fundraiser at the downtown Holiday Inn. “I think Tom would be a fine head coach. Tom is a hard worker. He’s smart. He works at it. He’s got a good personality. I think he’s got the stuff to be a good head coach.”

Bradley has been in charge of the Penn State defense and cornerbacks since 2000. The Bishop McCort graduate and Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame member will begin his 30th season as a Penn State assistant.

He joined the staff as a graduate assistant in 1979 and became a full-time assistant a year later. Bradley played defensive back and special teams on Nittany Lions squads that appeared in four bowl games from 1975 through 1979. The 1977 and ’78 teams went a combined 22-2.

Paterno recalled how former Penn State head coach Rip Engle handed him a strong foundation in 1966 after Paterno had served 16 seasons as an assistant. Paterno said he hopes to present a similar scenario to his eventual successor.

“I’ll never forget when Darrell Royal resigned in Texas (in 1976),” Paterno said. “We had a coaches convention in Washington, D.C. I was going out to eat. I had a buddy who had a good Italian restaurant in Washington.”

Paterno recalled that he asked Royal to join him at the restaurant. Once there, the talk naturally turned to football.

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