Tom Bradley heading to West Virginia

Tom Bradley is getting back into college coaching after a two-year absence as he’s been hired onto the staff at West Virginia by head coach Dana Holgorsen.

Bradley, a longtime Penn State assistant, hasn’t coached since he was the Nittany Lions’ interim head coach following the firing of Joe Paterno in 2011. Bradley had been PSU’s defensive coordinator and was called upon to lead the program in the immediate aftermath of the Jerry?Sandusky scandal.

Bradley was a candidate for the PSU head coaching job after the 2011 season, but it went to Bill O’Brien. Bradley has spent the past two years doing radio and other media work in the Pittsburgh area, primarily on Steelers broadcasts.

Bradley has the title of senior associate head coach at WVU, but his exact responsibilities are not yet known. The Mountaineers already have a defensive coordinator, Tony Gibson, so Bradley is expected to work with one of the defensive units.

“I am truly excited to join the West Virginia football program,” Bradley said in a university statement. “I want to thank Coach Dana Holgorsen and [AD] 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.

“It has always been my primary goal as a coach and educator to help the student athletes succeed on the football field, but more importantly as students and future graduates. I look forward to meeting the team, coaches, support staff, faculty, administration and West Virginia alumni.

Bradley went on to add, “West Virginia has a great history and tradition, and I am honored to be a part of its future.”

His recruiting background and expertise in western Pennsylvania could create some interesting battles with Penn State.?New Lions coach James Franklin has vowed to “dominate the state” in recruiting, and that figures to be even more difficult now with Bradley at WVU and former defensive line coach Larry Johnson now at Ohio State.

Bradley spent more than 30 years at Penn State as a player and then assistant coach. He was considered by many to be an in-house heir apparent to Paterno prior to the 2011 scandal, but the school chose to go with a hire who had no ties to the program or Sandusky.

Under Bradley, Penn State’s defense consistently ranked among the nation’s best.

“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 defense 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.”