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Pitt AD likes Bradley, so his chances of getting job are good

January 2, 2011 - Cory Giger
TAMPA, Fla. -- Joe Paterno believes Tom Bradley would be a good choice as Pitt's new head coach, and even the Panthers' athletic director appears to have warmed up to the idea.

Pitt AD Steve Pederson didn't give Bradley much thought the first time around in the hiring practice, but he had some good words about Penn State's defensive coordinator Sunday.

Pederson told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Bradley is "a very strong and very attractive candidate" for the Pitt job.

Pederson also said the perception that the Panthers wouldn't hire Bradley because he's a Penn State guy is incorrect. Pederson noted he wanted someone who had head coaching experience, which led him to hiring Michael Haywood from Miami of Ohio.

Haywood was fired Saturday after getting charged with domestic violence a day earlier, when he allegedly choked the mother of his son.

Pitt now must hire someone with exceptional character to take away some of the Haywood sting.

Bradley fits that description.

Paterno gave a ringing endorsement for Bradley on Sunday, saying he "should be a very, very strong candidate" who "certainly deserves consideration" at Pitt.

A Johnstown native who has been on the Penn State coaching staff since he graduated in 1979, Bradley has spent the last 11 seasons as the Nittany Lions' defensive coordinator. He also been one of the staff's best recruiters and has lured more than his share of top talent out of the WPIAL.

"Tommy's done a good job," Paterno said. "He's a good recruiter, good coach, organized. If they ask me, I'll tell 'em I think Tommy's a fine coach and should be a very, very prominent person as a possibility. He has strong contacts in the city of Pittsburgh."

Bradley's brother, Jim, is the Pittsburgh Steelers' team surgeon.

Bradley expressed interest in the Pitt job after Dave Wannstedt was fired last month but did not receive an interview from Pederson. Still, during Outback Bowl preparations last week, Bradley didn't hide his affection for Pitt, where his father played basketball.

"Pitt is a great university," the 54-year-old Bradley said. "They've got great people and great leadership in Chancellor [Mark] Nordenberg, and Steve Pederson's done a great job."

Bradley, who also tried to get involved in the Pitt job when Walt Harris was hired in 1996, did not respond to messages left Sunday.

(Neil Rudel contributed to this story)

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