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West Virginia announced the hiring of former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley on Friday evening. As the senior associate head coach, Bradley will be an experienced resource for newly promoted coordinator Tony Gibson.



MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley has agreed to join the West Virginia coaching staff, industry sources told MetroNews on Friday.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen subsequently confirmed the hiring hours later with an announcement that Bradley would become senior associate head coach and work with newly promoted defensive coordinator Tony Gibson.

“Tom brings numerous years of successful college coaching experience and versatility,” Holgorsen said. “He is an excellent defensive teacher, has high energy and intensity and gives us a proven recruiter with regional and national ties. I look forward to Tom joining the Mountaineer family, and I know he will work extremely well with Tony, 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.”

The 57-year-old Bradley becomes the most experienced member of the West Virginia defensive staff, having served 33 seasons under Joe Paterno at Penn State—and even spending a four-game stint as interim head coach when Paterno was fired late in the 2011 season. Bradley was an assistant on two national championship teams, three Big Ten champions and coached in 26 bowl games.

“I am truly excited to join the West Virginia football program,” Bradley said in a statement issue by WVU. “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.”

Holgorsen confirmed during a spring media luncheon Friday what MetroNews previously reported: that Gibson was being promoted from safeties coach to defensive coordinator. Gibson will now work with linebackers, according to Holgorsen, who said the newly hired Damon Cogdell would coach defensive linemen and Joe DeForest would return to coaching safeties on top of last year’s role as special-teams coordinator.

Holgorsen joked during the luncheon that he was interviewing coaches and seeking to fill the final staff vacancy with the “best available candidate” for the staff, whether that be offensive or defensive. Coaxing Bradley back into coaching obviously represents quite a coup, particularly since the hire was made only nine days before WVU opens spring practice on March 2.

Bradley’s specific coaching assignment remained unclear, though sources said he likely would focus on the defensive front seven. His career track certainly has been one of versatility.

A former two-year letterman for the Nittany Lions at defensive back, Bradley spent 20 years coaching Penn State’s running backs, receivers, outside linebackers and secondary before succeeding Jerry Sandusky as defensive coordinator in 2000. Bradley served in that capacity for 11 seasons until revelations of the Sandusky scandal forced Paterno’s ouster and ultimately led to a retooled staff under Bill O’Brien.

Bradley’s units enjoyed a stellar run from 2004 to 2009, repeatedly ranking among the nation’s top 15 in total and scoring defense.

During his two seasons out of coaching, Bradley worked with the Steelers broadcast network and, most recently, served as a CBS Sports football analyst.

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  • Chuck P

    Good for him, wish him all the best!

  • Dave Rossi

    Congrats to Coach "Scrap" Bradley, a strong leader, a great coach, a good guy. WVU made a very smart move and he will add to a program that is already a quality organization. As a Penn Stater I am just glad the Mountaineers are not in the Big Ten, yet.

  • chuck

    I am now a huge fan of WV, and Coach Holgorsen. Bradley should have been PSU next coach, say what you want about PSU and Sandusky, (hope he rots in jail), but we are not all involved in what happen. Enough said about that, Congradulations Coach Bradley, wish you the best and happy for the Mountaineers. WE ARE.

  • Richard Bird

    Congratulation to both Bradley and WVU. Although this must have been bitter sweet for Tom Bradley just like Larry Johnston at Ohio State - he has so much wisdom and experience to offer - only wish he could have been back at PSU! Always in our hearts.

  • Mike

    If Oliver hired Bradley, instead of Holgorsen hiring him (which I think is the case). Oliver hired a head coach in waiting if Holgorsen continues to struggle. Just a thought

  • TruthTeller

    The only problem he is used to the Little Ten football and not the high explosive Big 12.
    There are not a lot of teams in the Big 12 that just try to run the ball up the middle on every play. The Big 12 puts touchdowns on the board where the Little Ten puts field goals. I just hope he knows something about pass defense.

  • RJ

    Love to see him take the reigns of defensive coordinator, no offense to Gibby but we need some experience here. Great hire now let him do what he is best at doing. Great for recruiting not only in Pa but in New Jersey, Ohio, and New York.

  • WVcoal

    Oh boy!

  • Eric Mueller

    Take a look at the next head coach of the Mountaineers after DH stumbles through 2014.

  • Mountaineer Fan

    Scrap Heap, I suggested that you shut up and never make any comment about something that you do not know about.

  • 'eer in Cali

    Mountaineers D must improve for them to hold their own in B12.....hope this D staff does make a difference.

  • WVU1981

    Phenomenal hire for the Mountaineers! Bradley is a big-time assistant with lots of top-shelf experience, versatility, and proven performance. Whatever his assignment is, he will contribute to the defense where we need help and will certainly help with recruiting in PA. For a change, it is nice to see a solid assistant coming to WVU as opposed to leaving like Spavital to TAM, Bedenbaugh to OU, Gillespie to TN, and Patterson to ASU.

  • Bottom feeder

    Some of our best D-line & Backers have come from PA. Believe this guy is a fit. Who cares if he is only around for 3-4 yrs? More than enough time to develop some depth & re-establish our presence in PA.

  • westfair518

    Allan, great reporting as usual! This is one of the nations best defensive minds. Good for targeting possible recruits in PA.

  • kenny parsons

    I'm a born and bred WVu fan for 40 yrs. moved to TX in 89 but still a big fan. Sure am happy that my mountaineers became a member of the big 12.I believe Dana with his big 12 background can get things going in a steady direction. Kansas or Iowa St. could be in the upper 3or4 teams in the big east. It's going to be hard out here in West but with a little better recruiting in Tx. I believe wv can get back to the days of Rich Rod and his gang.