The brash, hard-nosed
The other side is not quite so bright.
Bradshaw's name was smeared across
newspapers, Internet message boards and on talk radio shows across the country
The LHSAA ruled the Rams had to
give back the Class 4A state championship trophy then deemed three of the five
remaining players ineligible for competition in the 2006 season.
Bradshaw contends they did not
illegally recruit the players, however, in the chaos following Hurricane
Katrina, the players contacted current
However, they had no way of getting to the small north Louisiana town on their own due to the fact they were scattered across south Louisiana and southeast Texas in shelters.
Holmes aided in transporting the
Bradshaw had no problem forfeiting
the state championship, but pled with LHSAA officials not to punish the
student-athletes. Following an intense two-week period, the LHSAA succumbed to
enormous pressure and re-instated Randall Mackey, Jamal Recasner and James Brown
following a two-week suspension. Mackey and Recasner remained in
The Rams, led by future LSU Tigers
DeAngelo Benton and Kentravis Aubrey, then ran the table compiling a perfect
Bastrop coach Brad Bradshaw poses with Class 4A state championship trophy. (Marq Mitcham/Bastrop Daily Enterprise)
With all of that being said, that is what you do know about Brad Bradshaw. Now is the part you may not.
Prior to Bradshaw being hired as head coach of the
Bastrop Rams, the program had been downtrodden for two decades.
But all that changed in 1997.
Bradshaw led the Rams to an 8-5 record in his
initial season at the helm, the program's first district title since 1974 and
the school's first playoff appearance since 1977. The Rams lost to Eunice in the
quarterfinals capping off on the greatest turnarounds in the history of football
More impressive than Bradshaw's 103-25 record in 10
Bradshaw has had his share of players come to LSU. From his first team in 1997, Solomon Lee came to LSU as part of Gerry DiNardo's Tigers. After being riddled with injuries, Lee finally broke through and played an active role at fullback for the 2001 SEC Championship team.
Other Bastrop Rams who have played at LSU consist of Marcus Yanez (2000) and Claude Wroten (2004-05). Two other former Rams, the aforementioned Benton and Aubrey, are on their way to LSU.
Wroten is one of two Bradshaw-coached players who
are currently playing in the NFL. Wroten and former Arkansas-Pine Bluff tight
end Brian Jones are the only two former Rams in the professional ranks. Wroten
is a defensive tackle for the St. Louis Rams while Jones is a tight end for
Bradshaw has interesting philosophies when it comes to getting his players placed in college. First and foremost, he said you do not shy away from any opportunity.
"We don't close the door to anyone, a coach that is," Bradshaw said. "Naturally, when the coach from LSU comes up, it is a big event because of who he is. But we are going to treat a Division III coach the same way."
It is well known that some high school coaches make decision for a player, assessing a player's skill level and determining what his chances are of reaching the next level. Bradshaw does it much different.
"Our main objective if one of them (a player) wants to go (to college), we will find them a spot," Bradshaw said. "If they listen to what I tell them do, most of the time it works out."
While it isn't possible for every player to play at the Division I level, Bradshaw says that doesn't matter.
"Genetically, everyone can't go to LSU," Bradshaw said. "You just have to accept that. Sometimes a player isn't big enough, fast enough, whatever. But there are some places where they can go, where they can have a better opportunity to improve their life."
When asked is there a potential college player on every high school team out there, he wholeheartedly concurred.
"Yes!" Bradshaw exclaimed. "I have never coached anywhere, haven't ever seen a program where I couldn't get somebody placed somewhere. I don't think places like that exist. I think that could happen, but I don't believe it."
And with that attitude, Bradshaw has placed more players in college than just about anyone out there.
Bastrop coach Brad Bradshaw puts the Rams through spring drills. (Marq Mitcham/Bastrop Daily Enterprise)
Bradshaw said the process begins early in the high school careers of these student-athletes.
"I try to identify those kids when they are sophomores and see if it is an avenue that they would like to explore," Bradshaw said. "Then I try and explain to them that it is not what it is made out to be. If you are going to give up your body or that school, you better come out of there with a degree. It is an equal tradeoff, the higher level you go, the more it revolves around football. Your performance is key. It is like a job. I try to explain that to them and see if they want to make that commitment.
"It all looks great on television, but that isn't exactly how it is. To play at that high level, you really have to love the game of football."
And just how does Bradshaw showcase his athletes?
"A lot of people do it with film. We are not fortunate enough to have great film equipment. The way we do it here is build it off personal relationships so when a kid comes out of here; they know he has been coached hard before."
One of the things Bradshaw said he and his staff try and do is be honest with the player and not get his hopes up for something that might not happen.
"We are probably more brutally honest than anyone else," Bradshaw said. "A letter from a college means absolutely nothing. It means you got on a mailing list somewhere. I am not trying to shatter their dreams, but we do tell them if you are not this, this or this, you aren't going to this place. We stress to them not to shut the door on someone who will take you, someplace who will take a 6-0 offensive lineman."
Bradshaw explained this scenario when telling a
story about Jackie Skipper. A 5-11, 270-pound offensive lineman, Bradshaw said
Skipper was the bets o-lineman
After four years, Skipper was just named the recipient of the Rimington Trophy, for the top center in Division I-AA.
"I'll do the best I can to help these kids here," Bradshaw said. "I want to help kids, not just here but across the state. When a college coach comes in here, I'll tell them about kids I have seen in other places that might not get the exposure that others do. That gives someone an opportunity to get better, to better their lives because that is what we are in it for."
Don't let Bradshaw's roots fool you. A native of
"I have become an LSU football fan," Bradshaw said. "It used to be I would watch LSU to see what Solomon (Lee) was going to do, or what Claude (Wroten) was going to do. The LSU fans are so intense. I have gained so much more respect for LSU since I have been here and learned things about them that I did not know before."
Bradshaw has obviously learned a great deal about
LSU and it shows as
Brad Bradshaw (10th Year)
1997 8-5* 4A Quarterfinals
1998 10-4* 4A Semifinals
1999 6-5* First Round
2000 7-4* First Round
2001 8-3 First Round
2002 11-2 4A Quarterfinals
2003 12-1* 4A Quarterfinals
2004 12-1* 4A Quarterfinals
2005 14-0* 4A Champions#
2006 15-0* 4A Champions
* denotes district title
# 2005 title forfeited