Jim Bradley was a grandfather, mentor and one heck of a coach

Jim Bradley was a grandfather, mentor and one heck of a coach

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By Chad Dare
For the Bulletin

Obviously, it’s a very sad time for Mayfield football, but it’s also a very sad time for high school football nationwide.

It’s been more than 15 years since I’ve actually covered a Mayfield High School game, but in those years since I’ve left Las Cruces, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of situations where something coach Bradley taught me has been helpful.

I can still remember my first high school football season in Las Cruces. I wasn’t doing the type of job that coach Bradley felt was right for the newspaper. I later found out that he thought I was a damn “Carpetbagger” from Illinois. It took some time, but with coach Bradley’s help, I was able to become a better sportswriter.

His love for Las Cruces was second to none and his ability to teach was phenomenal. He truly got the best out of the lives of everyone he touched, whether a player, a coach, or in my case, a sportswriter.

That’s a very, very special gift.

My fondest memories are not on the football field. For four years, I had a very unique perspective of Bradley. He spent his lunch hours with his grandchildren. He was a very caring and doting grandfather, but when we met every Tuesday in the Mayfield coach’s office, I would see him transform from Grandpa Bradley to Coach Bradley. And, yes, he was a hard-nosed coach, but I haven’t met a coach in nearly 30 years that cared more about his players.

On the field, my favorite game with Bradley was the 1998 state championship game with Roswell Goddard. The Trojans probably had a 10 percent chance of winning the game, but with a spectacular defensive effort Mayfield was able to get the game into overtime, tied at 7-7.

After an interception on Goddard’s possession in overtime, Mayfield needed just two plays to win the game. The game-winning play, a 1-yard quarterback sneak, was very fitting because of Bradley’s historical love affair with football. It was extremely similar to the quarterback sneak by the Green Bay Packers in the famous 1967 Ice Bowl against the Dallas Cowboys.

Chad Dare was a sports writer and editor in Las Cruces in the late 1990s. He is now the sports editor at the Commercial-News in Danville, Ill.

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