Tom Bradley officially exits Penn State

Posted: January 13, 2012

Tom Bradley, who spent 33 seasons on the Penn State coaching staff and served the final four games of the 2011 season as interim head coach after the firing of Joe Paterno, will not be returning.

Bradley said Friday on Twitter, "Finished packing up my office late [Thursday] night. Walked out the doors proud with a lot of great memories and friends and a better man."

Bradley spent the last 12 seasons as defensive coordinator and was generally thought to be the heir apparent if and when Paterno stepped down as head coach. However, he received his dream job in a very unexpected manner - on Nov. 9 after the university board of trustees fired Paterno in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual-abuse scandal.

Bradley interviewed with the Penn State search committee seeking a permanent head coach. But once the job went last week to Bill O'Brien, it was not anticipated that he would be back.

O'Brien spent last weekend interviewing members of the coaching staff, but Bradley told ESPN that he never spoke with the new coach. Bradley said that he will pursue other options.

Ted Roof, who was head coach at Duke when O'Brien was offensive coordinator there in 2005 and 2006, was announced Friday as defensive coordinator for the Nittany Lions. John Butler, the special teams coordinator for South Carolina, was confirmed as the secondary coach.

On Thursday, Joe Paterno's son, Scott, said the firing of his father two months ago by the Penn State board of trustees "was not handled well" and that attacks on the university's football program and its academic record during his tenure were "unjustified."

Scott Paterno released a statement Thursday night in response to one issued earlier in the day by the board of trustees. The board said that because of "extraordinary circumstances," it decided "it was in the best interests of the university to make an immediate change" by terminating Joe Paterno.

The board's statement followed the first meeting involving university president Rodney Erickson and Penn State alumni Wednesday night in Pittsburgh during which Erickson and the board came under fire for the way the Joe Paterno situation was handled. Erickson met with alumni Thursday night in King of Prussia where the same complaints were heard.

Joe Paterno was fired on Nov. 9, four days after Sandusky, a former assistant coach, was indicted on charges of sexually assaulting young boys. The board had not commented on terminating Paterno since the night the coach was fired.

"As has become apparent, the termination . . . with no notice or hearing, was not handled well," Scott Paterno said in his statement. "Joe Paterno has reiterated from the beginning that the first priority in this crisis is to serve the best interest of the victims. He believes strongly that everyone involved is entitled to due process."

Despite the firing, Scott Paterno said his father and his mother, Sue, "are unwavering in their loyalty and dedication to Penn State."

Published reports said the couple have given $100,000 to the university since the coach's firing, split evenly between the Paterno Library and the Paterno Fellows program.

Scott Paterno said his father "also thinks that a wholesale attack on the football program and Penn State's academic record, as has happened in some quarters, is unjustified."

He also said that in reviewing the scandal "the legitimate achievements of this university and the many good people who worked so hard to build it into a world-class institution should not be disrespected."

In its statement, the board said it considered Joe Paterno's announcement on the morning of Nov. 9 that he planned to retire at the end of his 46th season as head football coach.

But it said is also took into account a part of the grand jury report against Sandusky that indicated that Paterno told his immediate supervisor, athletic director Tim Curley, of an alleged sexual attack in a shower at the Penn State football facility in 2002 as told to him by then-graduate assistant coach Mike McQueary. That part of the report sparked criticism that Paterno should have done more.

"The board's unanimous judgment was that Coach Paterno could not be expected to continue to effectively perform his duties, and that it was in the best interests of the university to make an immediate change in his status," the board's statement said. "Therefore, the board acted to remove Coach Paterno from his position as head football coach effective of that date."

The board said Joe Paterno remains employed as a tenured faculty member and received his salary through the end of the 2011 season. It also said details of his retirement are still being worked out "and will be made public when they are finalized."


Contact staff writer Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494, jjuliano@phillynews.com, or @joejulesinq on Twitter. Read his blog, "Lion Eyes," at www.philly.com/lioneyes

 

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