In the two months since taking over as Penn State’s interim head coach following Joe Paterno‘s dismissal, Tom Bradley has handled a tough situation about as well as can be expected.
It remains to be seen whether he, like Larry Johnson Sr., will be retained by new head coach Bill O’Brien. If not, it will mark the end of a 35-year run at the school as both a player and a coach under Paterno.
Shortly after O’Brien’s introductory press conference, Bradley released a statement that takes on an eerie resemblance to a farewell letter to the school and its fans. The longtime assistant also wished O’Brien “all the best” as he embarks on the task of taking over a football program mired in scandal.
Here’s Bradley’s statement, in its entirety:
“Penn State has been my life. In my nearly four decades in Happy Valley, I went from a kid who loved football to a man who cherished and respected the game for the life lessons it taught. I learned many of those lessons under a great mentor and coach in Joe Paterno and I have dedicated my life to trying to help other young men, like myself, realize their potential both on and off the football field.
″As a former player, I want to acknowledge and thank my teammates who have remained lifelong friends and confidants. Our friendship didn’t end when we hung up our blue and white jerseys — it only became stronger. As for my fellow coaches, the bond we share is irreplaceable in my life. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.
″As a coach, I am most proud of how many of our players have gone onto lead lives dedicated to making this world a better place. I have always believed that football was just one part of preparing student-athletes for the next chapter in their lives. Those chapters — lived by our players after the games ended — define the Penn State football tradition. I want to thank every one of our players who gave their talent, effort and most importantly, heart to Penn State. It has been my life’s privilege to coach you.
″I also want to thank President Erickson, the Board of Trustees, Administrators and Faculty for the chance to be a part of Penn State University. This is a world-class academic institution and I am proud to not only work here but to be an alumnus.
″Finally, to our fans and alumni, your support has been incredible, not just this year but for the 37 years I have been here as a player and a coach. You make Beaver Stadium come alive. You are our heart. Make sure that our team — and our opponents — never forget it.
″I wish Coach O’Brien all the best. No matter the challenges that the university may face, Penn State will always have my support. This is forever my home and forever my family. It is important that we come together to support our players and our university. Now is the time to demonstrate that we are — and always will be — Penn State.