Former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley has a new job back home.
Bradley, a native of Johnstown, was named the Pittsburgh Steelers’ new defensive backs coach late Thursday afternoon. The longtime college coach replaces Carnell Lake, who resigned Wednesday to return to California to be a part of his youngest son’s last year of high school football.
“I want to thank Coach (Mike) Tomlin and the entire Steelers organization for this opportunity,” Bradley said in a news release. “I am excited to be a part of such a rich tradition here. We have a great nucleus in the defensive backs room, and my goal is to help this group continue to grow and develop as we all work toward one goal.”
Bradley got his start at Penn State, playing as a defensive back from 1975 to 1978 before becoming a graduate assistant in 1979. He continued to coach alongside Joe Paterno until 2012 — overseeing special teams, wide receivers, linebackers and defensive backs at times throughout his career in Happy Valley. The 12-year coordinator became the Nittany Lions’ interim head coach in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal and Paterno’s subsequent firing, but he resigned on Jan. 7, 2012, after being passed over for the head-coaching job.
He then spent two years with CBS Sports before becoming the assistant head coach at West Virginia in 2014. He then moved on to UCLA, where he was the defensive coordinator for three seasons.
His defenses with the Bruins experienced mixed success. During his three seasons there, the defense ranked Nos. 67, 47 and 122. At Penn State, however, he earned a reputation as one of the country’s top defensive coordinators with his units consistently finishing within the top 15 of total defense.
He inherits a talented Steelers secondary — with players such as cornerbacks Artie Burns and Joe Haden — that ranked fifth in the NFL last season in passing yards allowed.