Remembering Mr. B

by - Correspondent -
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The world is a lonelier place tonight with the passing of Bob Bradley. Mr. B was one man who never thought about what he would get out of it when someone needed help.

When I was an eighth grader, I wrote to the Clemson sports information department asking for the scores of the games played that season in college football. Less than a week later arrived an envelope with his name on it and the information I had asked for.
You never forget things like that.

I don't doubt there are a thousand similar stories out there. I don't doubt it one bit. He helped when he didn't have to and that's one of the hardest things to do.

-- Tommy Hood

This column originally ran in The Tiger on November 4, 1988, the day before the press box was named in his honor. By Tommy Hood

Sports information director Bob Bradley says that he would rather wear a garnet coat to a Carolina-Clemson game than have to go through what's going to happen at tomorrow's football game.

Those are pretty serious words from Bradley, who isn't especially fond of the Chickens.

But for Bradley, the limelight has never been something he has been fond of either, and when they name the press box after him tomorrow, you better catch a quick glimpse of the "czar" of the press box. For as soon as the box is officially named for Bob Bradley, he will go back to being Mr. B, the only name ever associated with Clemson sports information. In case you don't know Mr. B, he's not hard to get to know. His office is always open, and when you walk up to him, there's always an open hand waiting to greet you. In short, he's a writer's best friend, and a writer sometimes needs all the friends he can get.

Mr. B. used to be a writer, so he knows where the scribes are coming from when they need information in a hurry.

He served as sports editor of this very publication during his days at
Clemson and after graduating from the University in 1951, Frank Howard approached him about being the University's first director of sports information.

Bradley's training had been in Textile Manufacturing during his undergraduate days, but since then, he has provided universities across the nation with the prototype office of sports information. It was the prototype, but it has never been copied.

It's hard to copy honesty and sincerity, which is what you get with Mr. B. and the rest of the people in the office of sports information.

Sign the online sympathy card for the family of Bob Bradley.

As an intimidated freshman, I quickly found out that the big-time world of Clemson football I had grown up watching didn't have a big-time atmosphere about it once you walked inside Jervey Athletic Center and the sports information office.

As big-time as Clemson is right now, Bradley will be glad to tell you a story about the good ole' days around Tiger Town, when upper decks were nowhere to be found, and you could still see the field from Cemetery Hill.

He can tell you about the old press box that used to tower over Frank Howard field, and he can tell you about seeing the Big Thursday game against South Carolina as a rat when Clemson was a military school and most often as SID.

He can tell you an anecdote about most everyone that has conic down the hill at Death Valley, but when you see Mr. B. around Jervey Athletic Center, he won't fill your head with his accomplishments, and he won't remind you of how many years he's been here at Clemson or what he's seen.

He's just not interested in impressing people, but then he doesn't have to try to impress people. Even if he hadn't been here for 34 years, and even if he hadn't seen 365 straight games, Mr. Bradley would still be tops in my book as far as sports information directors go and as far as people go.

He never treated me like a freshman when I came to Clemson and needed help from his office as a sports writer for The Tiger or as sports editor, and he never treats anyone any less than they should be treated.

When he finally lets go of the reigns at the sports information office in the spring, it won't mean that Mr. B. will be gone completely. The people that he has trained through the years in his office have gone on to full-time positions in the sports information field, and his influence will be felt around the country and at Clemson for decades to come.

Somehow it almost doesn't seem enough that they're just naming a pressbox after him. His influence has reached farther than just the press box.

But then it probably wouldn't matter if they renamed the stadium after him; when he retires no one that has ever visited the Clemson press box, or anyone who has ever come into contact-with him, will ever forget Mr. Bob Bradley.

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