Tom Bradley's recruiting chops and coaching abilities are without question. They are obviously two big reasons, along with his relationship with WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson, that account for his hiring by the Mountaineers. However, they don't say much about the man himself, or how he relates to players and coaches -- items that are also key in determining success or failure.
To that end, we reached out to Mark Brennan, the publisher of FightOnState.com of the Scout.com network, for his perspective on the man who earned the nickname "Scrap" for his play on the field in the Nittany Valley.
West Virginia is getting a guy who can relate to anyone," Brennan told BlueGoldNews.com after learning of the hiring. "Once people get to know him, they'll find out he has no gigantic ego He's a very down to earth guy. He has coached nearly every position at Penn State, and I don't think he'll have any problem fitting in at West Virginia."
One possible concern about Bradley is his age, which can contribute to a lessening ability to relate to players as the gap between coach and athlete grows. While that certainly has been an issue for some, Brennan does think it will be a factor in this case at all.
"He has never had trouble relating to anybody. Old, young, he easily connects with people," Brennan noted. That's all about his personality and about his humor. He is super smart, too, although he'll play that off. I think all those things have served him very well.
"The guy has an ubelievable sense of humor," Brennan continued. "One of his best jokes is talking about going from coaching the defensive line to the linebackers to the secondary, and then saying he wasn't sure where he'd be moved next because he had nowhere else to go."
Bradley earned his nickname while leading the Penn State special teams of 1977 and 1978, which earned the moniker "Scrap Pack". The appellation immediately brings to mind the image of a tough, gritty player who will do whatever it takes to get the job done, and that's exactly the type of player Bradley was. Those are also qualities that his best defenses and teams exhibited, and ones that WVU hopes he can instill in its squads of 2014 and beyond.
How long Bradley stays on board at WVU is unknown, but there are some factors that might make Mountaineer fans believe this isn't a stepping stone job. Bradley got interest form some schools during his two year absence from the field, but it was clear to Brennan that he was waiting for the right fit.
"I don't know the specifics of any offers, but I doubt if he was going to take just any job," he said. "It wouldn't surprise me if he just wanted to step away for a while. He was a natural at the TV stuff. But this job, with the location and near his home area, seems like a good fit."