TRINITY — For Jason Bear Bradley, it’s just like coming home.
The former assistant football coach at Randleman High School and head coach at Wheatmore High School, who has spent the past six years as the head coach at Southern Guilford, is returning to Randolph County after accepting the head football position at Trinity High School.
In all, Bradley has spent 23 years as a football coach in Guilford, Randolph and Jackson counties.
“I think for me, it was just coming back,” Bradley said. “I always considered Randolph County very similar to where I grew up. The nostalgia of being back in a small community. Maybe there are some unfinished things. I know a lot of people in the county and it’s kind of like coming home again.”
Bradley played on both the offensive and defensive lines at the University of North Carolina before beginning his coaching career at Smoky Mountain High School, where he graduated from. He then spent time as an assistant at RHS, as a head coach at Wheatmore and then at Southern Guilford. Playing in a very competitive conference, the Storm were 18-38 overall and 18-19 in league play over the past six seasons.
Bradley takes over for Marlon Morris, who coached the last three seasons at THS. In the past two seasons, the Bulldogs were very successful in non-league games, posting a 7-3 record, before going 1-9 in Piedmont Athletic Conference affairs.
“You grow as a coach and sometimes there’s like a roadblock when you’re playing really tough teams, like we had to play Southeast and Dudley and Smith,” Bradley said of the tough league slate SG played. “It can be a mental block where you say you’re going to play as hard as you can, but you have a presumption of how the game is going to go. You have to transfer your mindset from when you were successful.”
Bradley said he is in the process of finding out what systems will benefit the Bulldogs for the upcoming season. He said it is important for the coaching staff to adjust to the personnel.
“You have to find what is going to be most successful,” Bradley said. “Then you can’t change your identity every week. That’s what builds success. You have to know who you are and excel at that. Sure, you have to make adjustments, but you have to be true to who you are.”
Bradley said he is excited for the new challenge.
“Coming into a place, the thing you want is consistency,” Bradley said. “They have always had athletes at Trinity. I remember playing them when I was at Wheatmore and how they would always have a lot of scratch and fight in them.”
Now the Bulldogs will be scratching and fighting for Bradley.