Retired Newton basketball coach Ron Bradley is a legend. He amassed more than 1,350 wins as a boys' and girls' coach and won Newton's lone state championship in 1964. So when the National High School Hall of Fame came calling last week, not many were surprised.
Bradley's contributions on the court were what they were -amazing. As the Rams' coach, playing in what is now the Covington Y's gym at Sharp Learning Center, Newton won 129straight home games from 1959-1967 - a record that still stands. But it's what Bradley did as a man that perhaps defines him the most.
Former R.L. Cousins basketball player Johnnie Johnson once told a story about the first time he met Bradley. It was in 1965 when R.L. Cousins and Newton (then called Newton County Comprehensive High School) were still segregated. Bradley let Johnson and a couple of his friends into the gym to play some pickup ball with a couple of his players - many who played on the '64 championship team. To hear Johnson tell it, Bradley didn't care what color you were. If you could play ball, he took an interest.
When the schools finally integrated, Bradley embraced black players. He knew their talent could help him win. For him, players were students and he was a teacher. It didn't matter what you looked like. If you were interested in making your life better, Bradley was there.
Congratulations on making it to the National Hall of Fame, Coach. It's the pinnacle a high school coach can reach - the highest honor. For everything you did for Newton County and its youth, The Covington News thanks you.