Ring of Honor Inductee Bradley Put Clemson in National Spotlight

by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON -- When current Clemson Sports Information Director Tim Bourret interviewed for the assistance sports information job in 1978, the then university promotions director, Jerry Arp, told him Mr. Bob Bradley "will treat you like he is your father."

"How often in a job interview does someone tell you that," Bourret said. "But that was exactly how Bob treated his employees. He treated me like he was my father from 1978-2000." And now the father of the Clemson athletic department is being honored by his Clemson family. Bradley, who served Clemson for 45 years in the sports information office as director and emeritus director, will be inducted into the Clemson Ring of Honor at Clemson's Memorial Stadium this fall. The announcement was made Friday by Bourret, who is Chairman of the Clemson Ring of Honor Committee.

"He was my mentor," said Bourret.

The Ring of Honor Committee also approved the induction of Clemson's four national championship teams. Those teams are the 1981 Clemson football team, the 1984 and 1987 men's soccer teams and the 2003 men's golf team.

The 1981 National Championship football team induction will take place in the fall of 2006 to coincide with the 25-year anniversary of that championship. The schedule of induction for the other sports at their respective facility will be announced at a later date.

Bradley will be inducted into the Ring of Honor on the North upper deck facade at Clemson Memorial Stadium on September 17 during ceremonies prior to the Clemson vs. Miami (Fla.) football game. The Ring of Honor, which began in 1994 with the induction of Frank Howard, Banks McFadden and Steve Fuller, is the highest award bestowed by the Clemson Athletic Department.

As for Bradley, he is the last inductee from a generation that put Clemson in the national spotlight. From Howard's Rock in football to Clemson's storied baseball history, Bradley was the sole reason people knew and heard about Clemson University athletics nation wide.

"All the traditions and stories we know about and what make Clemson so special is because of Bob Bradley. From the stories about Coach (Frank) Howard, Banks McFadden, the Rock, the Hill… all of those were first told over and over again by Bob," said Bourret. "When ever a television crew came to town, he told them all about Clemson, the stories and the traditions.

"We can thank him for all these traditions because he brought those traditions to the forefront."

Bradley did more than just tell stories, however. In many ways Bradley, a 1951 Clemson graduate, represented the spirit of Clemson. That was never more obvious than in his final days.

While fighting the bone cancer that ultimately took his life, he worked his 502nd consecutive Clemson football game against Maryland at Memorial Stadium. The game was played just 16 days prior to his death.

"Even through all that, he was as sharp as a tack," said Bourret.

Bradley, who served Clemson from 1955 until his death on October 30, 2000, was one of the most honored administrators in ACC history. He won the Arch Ward Award as the College Sports Information Directors of America Man of the Year in 1976, the same year he also served as the organization's national president. He was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 1975, the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985, the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame in 2000, and the South Carolina Hall of Fame in 2001.

The press box at Memorial Stadium was named in his honor in 1988.

On October 28, 2000, two days before he died, he was presented with "The Order of the Palmetto", the highest honor accorded a civilian of the state of South Carolina. He was also presented the first Skeeter Francis Award by the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1990 for his contributions to the league.

When he worked his 500th consecutive Clemson game at Duke on September 30, 2000, head football coach Tommy Bowden presented him with the game ball in the locker room during his post-game talk to the team. It is the only time Bowden has presented a game ball since he has been the head coach at Clemson.

Bradley was known for his dedication to his job. In addition to his famous football streak, he worked 313 consecutive ACC Tournament games between 1955 and 2000. He scored over 2000 Clemson baseball games in his 45 years covering Clemson baseball.

During his career, Clemson won countless publication awards and citations for service to the media. In fact, it was Bradley who devised the publication contests award system that the organization still uses today. He also devised the baseball scorebook that is used throughout the country for college baseball.

Though he won all those awards and was honored countless times that wasn't what Bradley was about. He loved Clemson University and he loved the people he worked with.

"He used to have this book page calendar and every December he would go around and ask everybody from the new secretary on up what day their birthday or their wedding anniversary might fall on, and he would write it down on his calendar," Bourret said. "Bob saved the day for a lot of the coaches because he would come up to them that morning of and tell them happy anniversary. Often a lot of them had totally forgot about their anniversary so they would run out and pick something up.

"Thank God for Bob Bradley or a lot of our coaches might have got in trouble."

That sounds like something any good father would do.

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