Bradley, a Pennsylvania native, went to Penn State, played football for Penn State and, for more than than three decades, coached for Penn State. After starting out as a low-level assistant, Bradley eventually worked his way up to the position of defensive coordinator--a position he inherited from Jerry Sandusky, the man whose alleged sexual misdeeds led to the sad end of coach Joe Paterno in Happy Valley.
Bradley was widely considered to be one of the Penn State staff's most effective recruiters, and as a defensive strategist, he was viewed among the best in the game. His defenses regularly ranked among the Top 15 in the nation.
When Paterno was fired in the wake of the Sandusky scandal, it was Bradley who took over as interim head coach. In this role, he was faced with the challenge of guiding his Nittany Lions through a brutal late-season stretch--games against Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin--while also dealing with lingering questions about the Sandusky case. Bradley led his team to a 1-2 mark in those last three games, helping the Nittany Lions earn a trip to the TicketCity Bowl, where they took on Houston. The Nittany Lions lost that game, 30-14, and not long after, Penn State announced that New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien had been hired as the program's permanent head coach.
Though it was not officially announced until mid-January that Bradley would not be returning to Penn State in any capacity under O'Brien, the longtime loyal Penn Stater issued a statement on Jan. 7 that made clear his days in Happy Valley were over.
The statement was released via Brian Communications, a public relations firm in Philadelphia.
Bradley's statement, in full, read as follows:
"Penn State has been my life. In my nearly four decades in Happy Valley, I went from a kid who loved football to a man who cherished and respected the game for the life lessons it taught. I learned many of those lessons under a great mentor and coach in Joe Paterno and I have dedicated my life to trying to help other young men, like myself, realize their potential both on and off the football field.
As a former player, I want to acknowledge and thank my teammates who have remained lifelong friends and confidants. Our friendship didn't end when we hung up our blue and white jerseys—it only became stronger. As for my fellow coaches, the bond we share is irreplaceable in my life. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.
As a coach, I am most proud of how many of our players have gone onto lead lives dedicated to making this world a better place. I have always believed that football was just one part of preparing student athletes for the next chapter in their lives. Those chapters—lived by our players after the games ended—define the Penn State football tradition. I want to thank every one of our players who gave their talent, effort and most importantly, heart to Penn State. It has been my life's privilege to coach you.
I also want to thank President Erickson, the Board of Trustees, Administrators and Faculty for the chance to be a part of Penn State University. This is a world class academic institution and I am proud to not only work here but to be an alumnus.
Finally, to our fans and alumni, your support has been incredible, not just this year but for the 37 years I have been here as a player and a coach. You make Beaver Stadium come alive. You are our heart. Make sure that our team – and our opponents – never forget it.
I wish Coach O'Brien all the best. No matter the challenges that the university may face, Penn State will always have my support. This is forever my home and forever my family. It is important that we come together to support our players and our university. Now is the time to demonstrate that we are—and always will be—Penn State."