Tag:Tom Bradley
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:16 am
Edited on: January 6, 2012 10:42 am
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What's with the misguided anger, Penn State?

Penn State people are mad, no furious, with the reported hire of Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien as the man who would replace The Man. Which means Penn State fans just don't get it.

And look, PSU people, I'm not mocking you. Not taunting you. Not enjoying your anger or frustration. You're going to see plenty of those people in the next few days, media people and otherwise, people who were so shaken by the Sandusky scandal that they take it out on anything and everything representing Penn State. And I understand their rage, I really do. But I'm not one of them, so don't miss what I'm writing here.

I'm trying to help. Honest. And what occurs to me, from my point on the periphery, is that there are people at Penn State -- even a truly intelligent insider like ex-PSU linebacker LaVar Arrington -- who are so close to the situation that they can't see it for what it is.

And what it is, for Penn State, is impossible.

The administration had no chance to win the press conference, as it's called when the new coach is introduced to acclaim. Whoever that guy is, he wasn't coming to Penn State. Not so soon after ... Sandusky.

It just wasn't going to happen.

The initial hint came way back in November when Joe Paterno was forced out, and the first name to surface was Mike London of Virginia. That's a humble name, Mike London of Virginia. Career record at UVa: 12-13. Four years total as a head coach, the first two at Richmond. And when London was connected to Penn State by media reports, he backtracked as if Penn State was something he almost stepped in.

That was our sign. That was your sign, Penn State fans: This job wasn't going to be filled easily, and as the following two months showed, it wasn't filled easily. Penn State alums didn't want it. Outsiders didn't want it.

Meanwhile, the Penn State administration was trying to conduct its coaching search in privacy, even secrecy, because there was no way the school was going to hire someone with a great resume if that hiring was leaked before it became official. So Penn State did what it could on the down low, and for that Penn State people are mad. I've been getting tweets all morning like this one from a Penn State fan lamenting the "secrecy and arrogance" of the search.

As if there's any other kind, these days.

There are Penn State supporters, LaVar Arrington among them, who insist the job should have gone to interim coach Tom Bradley. And that underscores my earlier point, about some people being too close to the situation to see it clearly.

Tom Bradley was never going to get this job. It would have been outrageous if he had gotten it. And that's not a shot at Tom Bradley, who gets high marks from every media person I've ever talked to about him. But he spent years on staff with Sandusky, and was on staff when this story exploded, and was even the face of the program for the month after the explosion.

That guy can't be given the job on a permanent basis. Not if this school is sincere in its desire -- and the administration sure seems to be sincere -- to put behind it one of the ugliest stories in college football history.

It couldn't be Bradley. It wouldn't be Mike Munchak. Even the sub-.500 coach at a basketball school in the ACC wouldn't touch it.

Other than Bill O'Brien, who was Penn State going to get?

Nobody, that's who. The complaining today from Penn State people is as misguided a reaction as the riot by students the night of Paterno's firing. It's anger for the sake of anger, but it's aimed in the wrong place. Sandusky should be the target. Sandusky, and those who didn't do nearly enough to stop his alleged reign of terror.

This is not Penn State President Rodney Erickson's fault.

This is not Bill O'Brien's fault.

Want to be mad, Penn State? Get mad at Sandusky. Get mad at former president Graham Spanier and former athletics director Tim Curley. Hell, get mad at Joe Paterno.

But if Bill O'Brien truly is your next coach, get behind him, and do it now. You are ... Penn State. Remember?

Time to act like it.












Posted on: November 10, 2011 2:37 pm
 

Tom Bradley gets his dream job. For now.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- This is the job Tom Bradley always wanted, but he didn't want it like this. And he won't keep it like this, either. This job he has, head football coach at Penn State? It's a temporary tag, and it's never going to become permanent.

Add Bradley to the pile of collateral damage in the Jerry Sandusky scandal that has cost an untold number of alleged victims their emotional well-being, and has cost four of the most powerful men on campus -- coach Joe Paterno, president Graham Spanier, athletics director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schwartz -- their job.

And it will cost Tom Bradley his job, too. Maybe he comes back next season as an assistant coach, maybe not. That will be up to the next head coach, whoever it is -- but it won't be Tom Bradley. He's the interim coach, but that's all he is. That's all he ever will be. Tom Bradley hit his career peak on Thursday, even as he plumbed the depths of personal lows.

"'I take this job with very mixed emotions," Bradley said Thursday morning at Beaver Stadium, where he will lead the Nittany Lions into their home finale Saturday against Nebraska. Bradley also will coach Penn State in its final two regular-season games of the season, at Ohio State and Wisconsin, and in whatever bowl game Penn State appears, assuming the school chooses to appear in one.

After that, though, Tom Bradley is out. He doesn't seem to know that, and he definitely didn't say that on Thursday. Asked if he had been given any indication by school officials that he was a candidate for the position on a permanent basis, Bradley said that topic hadn't come up. And I believe him.

I also believe it will never come up, because Penn State is in housecleaning mode -- and you don't fire the head housekeeper to promote the chimneysweep. Paterno is gone. The president is gone. The AD. A vice president. And soon that wave will sweep the remnants of Paterno's coaching staff out the door as well.

It's doubtful the next coach, whoever he is, would retain a single member of this current staff -- but if one man is retained, it would be Tom Bradley. He is that highly regarded in all circles, whether by coaches or fans or even the media. Full disclosure: The media loves Tom Bradley, and after spending 25 minutes at his initial press conference on Thursday, I see why. He pulls no punches, tells no lies. If he can't answer a question, he tells you he can't answer it. If he can, he does.

Asked if he'd slept in four days, Bradley blurted out, "Do I look that bad?"

Asked a general question about a coach's responsibility to protect children from the kind of atrocities that Sandusky was allegedly allowed to continue from 2002 to 2011, Bradley didn't back down.

"We all have a responsibility to take care of our children," he said. "All of us."

That answer seemed to undercut Joe Paterno, yet Bradley made it clear Thursday he holds only one man in higher regard.

"Coach Paterno has meant more to me than anybody but my father," Bradley said. At that he became emotional, so he stopped talking. Next question.

Another question came about Paterno, and another, and another, and Bradley answered them like so:

"He will go down in history as one of the greatest men, and coaches," Bradley said.

"He has had a dynamic impact on so many, so many -- I'll say it again -- so many people and players' lives," Bradley said.

Bradley loves Joe Paterno. He also loves Penn State, playing here as a defensive back from 1975-78 and coaching here ever since. Once upon a time, Jerry Sandusky was the most respected assistant on staff -- scary, huh? -- but when Sandusky retired in 1999 to pursue his other interests, Bradley replaced him as defensive coordinator and as the man most likely to replace Paterno, assuming the replacement would come from within.

And assuming Paterno would ever retire.

Well, Paterno's gone. He didn't retire -- he was fired late Wednesday night. And Tom Bradley has replaced him, but not for long. Just for three games, maybe four, and then Bradley will leave the only school he has ever worked.

It's not one of the bigger tragedies of this story. It's not, in comparison, a tragedy at all.

But it's a sad turn of events nonetheless.



 
 
 
 
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