April 2, 2014
BEAUMONT, Texas -
A coaching veteran of more than 30 years, Bill Bradley walked out of his office for the final time Wednesday morning. Bradley, who announced his retirement just prior to the start of spring camp, has spent the previous two seasons as the team's defensive coordinator.
"It has been great to have Bill on this staff and around our program the past couple of years," said Lamar head football coach Ray Woodard. "Bill came along at a very important time for this program. I was looking for very specific qualities in a defensive coordinator, and Bill actually called to recommend someone else for the position but he was the perfect fit."
Bradley's work with the Lamar defense has been evident in a very short period of time. The Cardinals led the Southland Conference in pass defense each of the past two seasons, and were the lone SLC team to hold opponents to less than 200 yards passing per game this past season. That defense produced four all-conference honorees in 2013, including two first-team selections - the program's first first-team selections since being resurrected. One of those two first teamers, defensive end Jesse Dickson, was named Southland Defensive Player of the Year by College Sports Madness, and was named to the Sports Network All-America squad.
Prior to coming to Lamar, Bradley served as director of the secondary at FBU (Football University), a one-of-a-kind training experience for the nation's elite youth and high school players. Bradley also spent two years with the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League as defensive backfield coach, helping the franchise reach the league's championship game twice.
Bradley has seen success at every level of the game both as a coach and as a player. Before joining the Tuskers, Bradley served as the defensive backs coach for the San Diego Chargers for three seasons, one of his three stops in the NFL. While in San Diego, the Chargers led the NFL in interceptions for the first time in franchise history and reached the AFC title game in 2007. Bradley also had stops with the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.
"Bill's success in the game is a combination of a couple of different things," said Woodard. "Bill is just a winner. Without saying a lot he exemplifies winning in everything he does. He is going to do what it takes to be successful. He has won at every level of the game whether as a coach or a player. With his experience and knowledge of the game, he just brings a lot to the table."
Before heading to San Diego, Bradley spent three seasons in Waco serving as the defensive coordinator for Guy Morriss at Baylor. He inherited a defense which ranked 105th nationally in total defense, but the team showed marked improvement under Bradley ranking as high as 63rd, while coaching more than a dozen All-Big 12 performers.
Bradley's coaching career also includes professional stops in the Canadian Football League and the now defunct United States Football League (USFL).
A third round draft choice of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, Bradley went on to earn three-straight All-Pro awards from 1971-73 at free safety. In addition, he served as the Eagles' punter, kick returner and holder. Bradley, who led the NFL in interceptions in 1971 and 1972, became the first player ever to lead the league in interceptions in consecutive seasons.
A former high school All-American quarterback from Palestine, Texas, Bradley led his 1965 team to the state title. From there, Bradley continued his playing career as a quarterback and defensive back at Texas. He served as a tri-captain on Darrell Royal's 1968 Longhorn team that finished the season 9-1-1, and tied for the Southwest Conference championship. The 1968 Longhorns were ranked third in the final Associated Press poll, and went on to win the Cotton Bowl.
"Whenever you bring in a coach from the outside that your kids may not know all that well, they will need something to rally around. What Bill as been able to accomplish in this game grabs the attention of these kids, and they respect that."
Bradley retires from the game as a member of the Texas Sports, Texas High School, University of Texas and Philadelphia Eagles halls of fame.