Sports Editor’s Note: The following was submitted by Norwich High School Athletic Director Joseph Downey, and was written by Ray Davis.
“I never had more fun than in Norwich,” said Harold Bradley who, in his time, became a legendary coach at Duke and Texas.
The chaplain at Duke in the 1950's was asked if he’d known Bradley. “Ah,” he said, “our gentleman coach.”
At Texas, Longhorn coaches wore Stetsons. “Bradley doesn’t wear ten-gallon hats,” an Austin columnist wrote, “because he doesn’t have a ten-gallon head.”
Fred Shabel was Bradley’s assistant at Duke. He was later head coach at UConn and athletic director at Penn. “Nobody in America,” he once said, “knows more basketball than Hal Bradley.”
Bradley came to Norwich from the small central school at Georgetown, NY. He had been a science teacher there when the school needed a coach. His Georgetown teams compiled a 78-29 record in four years, 1935-39. His boys’ teams won 46, lost 18. His girls’ teams won 32, lost 11, going unbeaten in the final season, en route to the Tri-County League title. Bradley instantly transplanted his winning ways at Georgetown, coaching the Norwich junior varsity to a 13-3 record in 1939-40, his first season on the Chenango.
Over-worked Kurt Beyer was coaching three major sports, serving as athletic director and teaching men’s physical education. His basketball teams had won only three games in two years, and the record for the previous ten years was 44-116. Bradley relieved Beyer in 1940-41, winning 12, losing 6. He followed with 14-4, 11-4, seasons in 1941-42, and 1942-43. He was building. There were to follow three 17-win seasons, in 1943-44, 1945-46, 1946-47. His teams lost more than six games only once.