West/North Xtra: Two-sport coach was busy guy last week

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Jen Bradley could only laugh when asked if her husband has had very much at-home time lately.

"There's not a whole lot," she said.

Until this past Friday, Dan Bradley was busy getting his Sto-Rox football team prepared for the WPIAL Class A championship game against Clairton. He also has been busy getting Avonworth ready for the upcoming season as the boys varsity basketball coach.

Plus, he is an administrator for an alternative education company and the father of Tyler, 12, Grace, 9, and Anna, 6.

"I don't see him very much when he's coaching, but he makes it a point to get the kids on the bus in the morning so they have their 'dad time' every morning," Jen Bradley said. "Then when he gets home at night he's the one who puts them to bed. He takes care of them at home when he can be here.

"They probably don't even notice [his absence] as much as I do. He's very present for them even though it seems very unlikely that he should be able to [be here]."

The more Sto-Rox kept winning, the busier Dan Bradley's life became. The Vikings wrapped up the regular season Oct. 26, but was clearly one of the top teams in Class A and an extended playoff run was inevitable.

Avonworth, meanwhile, had been busy since September with open gyms and competing in a fall basketball league in preparation for its season in Class AA Section 6. Dan Bradley estimates the Antelopes have been going three days a week in one form or another for a few months now.

"There isn't much down time," he said, laughing.

Sto-Rox rolled through its first three playoff opponents by an average of 24 points per game but came up short against Clairton, 58-21, in the championship this past Friday, capping off an 11-2 season and a co-championship in the Big Seven Conference. The Vikings were 12-1 last season under former coach Ron Butschle, losing to Clairton in the championship, 42-6.

Butschle, however, resigned this past summer for personal reasons and Bradley decided to move up from his offensive coordinator position to the head coaching job.

"Ron and I talked about it and we decided it would be the easiest transition for the kids," said Bradley, 42, who lives in the Avonworth School District.

As an assistant, Bradley coached with Butschle from 2000-03 at Sto-Rox, moved to Seneca Valley when Butschle was named head coach of the Raiders, coached at South Fayette for four years when he helped start up his education company then returned to Sto-Rox last season to rejoin Butschle.

Never, however, was he a head football coach.

"Even as an assistant, you're juggling a lot of balls," he said. "As an assistant I was able to leave a little early from football to get to basketball. You're on the go, going from one thing to the next. It does get busy but it's been a good situation. An exhausting situation."

His "situation" got even more hectic with the official start of winter sports Nov. 16.

Avonworth's basketball season got under way that Friday with practice after school, Bradley explained. He then went to Sto-Rox's semifinal playoff game that night against North Catholic, a 34-20 Vikings victory at Dormont Stadium.

He had basketball practice Saturday, watched football film Sunday, had football practice after school from 2:30 to 5:15 Monday and Tuesday and basketball practice from 5:15 to 7:30 both evenings. Wednesday, he said, Avonworth didn't have school so practice was early and Sto-Rox got out of school early so he moved that practice up early as well.

"One way or another, it seems to work out," he said.

In his fourth season as basketball coach at Avonworth, Bradley sees his days of wearing multiple hats winding down.

"I see my football days dying down as a coach. To have an opportunity to coach a sport where I live and to have my family be a part of it in the future is a special opportunity. I wouldn't be able to pass that up."

Either hat he wears, however, suits his wife just fine.

"It would be lovely if my husband's gift were more lucrative, but it isn't," Jen said. "I have to tell you, though, his gift is coaching and he's really good at it. He's really special and I can't take that away from him."


Rick Davis: rdavis@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3789.


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