|It seems the Bradley rumor is only starting to heat up with other blogs picking up on it and the Patriot Times reporting a telephone conversation between Bradley and West Virginia on the first day of the post-Rod era.
According to a source intimate with the situation, Bradley was contacted on Sunday morning by an intermediary sent by West Virginia University. This person asked him if he would be interested in talking about the WVU top job just vacated by Rich Rodriguez. And Bradley, understandably, waited about a nanosecond before responding, well, yeah, he would. With this, the scramble for a succession plan has officially begun. Forums, blogs and news outlets everywhere are now demanding a plan they can look forward to perhaps in the next 5 years. For years, Penn State fans were only certain of 2 things, First, we would run first, run second and then pass third if a run would not get us a first down. Second, the next Penn State coach would be someone who is already currently sitting in the coaching box or pacing the sidelines. With that said, the front runner for many years for this elusive post-Paterno coach was Tom Bradley. He is the reason if not the sole reason for Penn State's dominance on defense so why wouldn't the Penn State faithful be thrilled to embrace one of their own who has brought them so much pride over the years. Then there was Joe Paterno's broken leg last year. This was the real clear indication which of his assistances was hiding a golden ticket in his wallet all these years and lo and behold, it was Tom Bradley and Galen Hall, not L Johnson, or Jay Paterno that were named interm co-head coaches. In the only game that Joe was unable to attend, Tom Bradley and Galen Hall coached Penn State to victory.
So you can imagine why the idea of Bradley abandoning Penn State for West Virginia is so upsetting for the Lion faithful. Bradley was not only an accomplished assistant, recruiter and member of the Penn State family, but he was basically the next coach in waiting even if he wasn't awarded the official title. Fans could see it, the administration accepted it. Even Tom Bradley recognized it when he rejected temptation from Temple and Illinois in 2005 for coaching positions there.
So why the sudden panic of Bradley leaving for West Virginia? In 2005, Bradley along with other assistants were aware of the new lease on life Paterno was given after a few losing seasons which limited Paterno to 2008. And in 2005, with a Robinson-led team, Joe achieved an 11-1 season with a victory in the Orange Bowl against his 'best friend' Bobby Bowden. Many felt Paterno had finally satisfied his desire to go out on top and would finish out his 2008 contract and call it quits. This was evident in recruiting as recruits were now informed of who the next coach would be should Joe leave. But turn the page t0 2007 and the end of another disappointing Morelli led year and Joe basically telling the world that he will stick around on a year-to-year basis. His main reason? Because he cannot imagine life not coaching hence he will continue to do the only thing he is familiar with.
So for Bradley, Galen, Johnson and even Norwood, what do you do? You were all banking on being able to take more control of this historic program and now the coach is not giving up and tells you he basically has no idea when he will ever retire. 1 year, 5, years, hell even 10 years if Penn State is willing to allow a funeral procession to step onto the field. And this is why we have seen Norwood reluctantly leave Penn State despite his son still on the roster and the panic growing for Bradley leaving Penn State. Because now, it is entirely possible. We can only pray that Bradley's loyalty to Penn State is stronger than Joe's stubbornness. Joe might not be hurting the program by sticking around, but he is destroying the post-Paterno era. The less he reveals to the world, the more chaos will rain in Happy Valley when he does decides to go. Let's only hope he has something up his sleeves.
Labels: brian norwood, galen hall, jay paterno, joe paterno, penn state, tom bradley, west virginia