Tom Bradley will return from the West Coast to Western Pennsylvania and his football roots.

The Johnstown native and Bishop McCort High School graduate was named defensive backs coach by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday. Bradley, 61, will replace Carnell Lake, who resigned on Tuesday, on Steelers coach Mike Tomlin’s staff.

“I want to thank Coach Tomlin and the entire Steelers organization for this opportunity,” Bradley said in a release posted on on Thursday afternoon. “I am excited to be a part of such a rich tradition here. We have a great nucleus in the defensive backs room, and my goal is to help this group continue to grow and develop as we all work toward one goal.”

Bradley spent 33 seasons as an assistant coach at Penn State, was briefly part of the staff at West Virginia University, and most recently was the defensive coordinator at UCLA from 2014-17.

Bradley’s brother Jim is the Steelers’ orthopedic physician. Both Bradley brothers are members of the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame, and Tom was inducted to the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

At Bishop McCort High School Tom Bradley was a 5-foot-10, 165-pound outside linebacker and quarterback. The Tribune-Democrat named him a 1973 Player-Scholarship Award winner after Bradley was second on his team in tackles and tied a school record with 15 completions in a game.

Once he left Johnstown for State College, Bradley played defensive back under coach Joe Paterno at Penn State from 1975-78. He lettered twice on teams that went 22-2.

His coaching career began soon after his graduation from Penn State, as Bradley became a graduate assistant coach with the Nittany Lions in 1979. He worked his way up to defensive coordinator, a role Bradley held from 2000 through 2011.

His Nittany Lions defense consistently was among the top-ranked units in the nation.

From 2004 through 2009 he led Penn State to six straight top-15 finishes in total defense and scoring defense. The Lions held 53 of 88 opponents to 17 points or fewer from 2004 to 2011, including 10 times in 2009.

Overall, Bradley was a part of two Penn State national championship teams (1982 and 1986), three Big Ten Conference title teams (1994, 2005 and 2008) and 27 bowl game appearances.

Bradley served as interim head coach of the Nittany Lions briefly in 2011 after Paterno was fired during the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.

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