Tech introduces new athletic director

Don’t expect Larry Bird to be walking through the doors at Montana Tech any time soon.

Or Charles Barkley for that matter.

“Why would we want Larry Bird?” new Montana Tech athletic director Charles Bradley asked Monday. “He was my teammate. I passed him the ball and he didn’t pass it back.”

Bradley played two seasons with Bird and the Boston Celtics after being selected with the 23rd pick of the 1981 NBA draft. He also played one season with the Seattle Supersonics.

Tech named Bradley athletic director, replacing Joe McClafferty, last week.

The Orediggers formally introduced Bradley with a press conference today in the Bob and Pauline Poore Conference Room in the Frank and Ann Gilmore University Relations Center.

After presenting Bradley with a No. 42 Oredigger jersey with the name “Bradley” on the back, Tech Chancellor Don Blackketter introduced Bradley as Charles Barkley before quickly correcting himself in front of a room full of media members and Oredigger supporters.

“We are very fortunate to have him,” Blackketter said of the 6-foot-5 Bradley, whose nickname growing up was “Tub.”

Bradley, 54, said he’s here to help the Orediggers take their athletic programs to new heights.

“It’s on the way up,” Bradley said, praising the work of McClafferty, who is now the vice chancellor for development and university relations at the school. “We’re in the process of taking it to another level. We can be recognized not only on a regional basis, but on a national level.

“We want to be able to compete for championships on a consistent basis. That’s what we’re going to look for.”

The new boss of Oredigger athletics said he has the right coaches in place to take the Orediggers where he wants them to be. He said he can use his experience as a player and coach — Bradley coached at the college level for 16 years — to help his coaches and players.

“I’ve been in their seat,” Bradley said. “I want to help them be better coaches, better people.”

Before coming to Tech, Bradley worked in the private sector. He says that experience will come into play when it comes time to raising money for the athletic program.

“I don’t mind asking for money,” he said. “I’ve been in their shoes.”

Bradley is a native of Baltimore, Md. He said he was recruited by schools on the east coast before deciding to sign with the University of Wyoming, where he went on to be an All-American. Bradley averaged just under 20 points per game his last two years at Wyoming.

“I just took one trip to the University of Wyoming and I just fell in love with it,” Bradley said. “I always told my recruits, ‘Go where you’re wanted.’ At the University of Wyoming I felt like I was wanted. That’s the way I felt here.”

Bradley’s older brother, Dudley, played nine years in the NBA. His best years came with the Indiana Pacers early in his career.

Monday, though, was about Charles Bradley and not Charles Barkley, Larry Bird or even Dudley Bradley.

“I passed him the ball, and he didn’t pass it back either,” Charles Bradley joked of playing with his older brother.

Bradley will be a guest on KBOW Overtime at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The show is broadcast live from Metals Sports Bar and Grill.