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Former players describe how longtime coach became a legend
National High School and Georgia Sports Hall of Fame Coach Ron Bradley is shown with his Loganville Red Devil basketball players from 1996-1999 at a Bradley Reunion event July 22 at Loganville Middle School. - photo by Special Photo

 LOGANVILLE, Ga. — Now 93 years old, legendary high school basketball coach Ronald W. Bradley, hasn’t coached in more than a decade, but he can still give out commands on the court.

The National High School and Georgia Sports Hall of Famer was able to get his former players at Loganville High School set up to take a photo of his teams from 1996-99 at a special reunion event at the Loganville Middle School Friday evening.

Bradley spent just three years at Loganville, but in that time his teams went a combined 67-13, winning at least 22 games in each season.

The 67 wins, however, is mere drop in the bucket during his incredible 53-year coaching career. Bradley amassed more than 1,300 wins in that span, a Georgia High School record. His teams at Newton County High School set a national record of 129 straight home wins, a mark that still stands.

While his Red Devil teams did not make it to a Georgia State Final Four, several of his teams did. Three teams won state championships, including one for George Walton Academy in Monroe.

Bradley was proud to see his former Red Devils.

“You hear the names and it reminds you how special they are,” Bradley said. “It’s good to hear about their family, you feel good that they are doing good.”

Bradley started his career at Newton County in 1957. He said he had a simple philosophy.

“You want the kids to do the best they can. If you do that, that’s going to be as good as you would be anyway. If you can get them to buy in and want to succeed, you’ve done a good job.”

Wins were great, but Bradley had a far more reaching goal with his players.

“I wanted them to be good people,” he said. “To go by the rules of life and I knew they’d be successful.”

When it came to basketball, Bradley said his teams had to learn the fundamentals of the games. “We wanted to be fundamentally sound. All of our kids were able to dribble, handle the ball, play defense. You didn’t have to worry about them giving it their all, they were going to give it all. That was pretty special about our teams. They were going to do the best they could.”

Bradley said he wanted a challenge when he went to Loganville in the mid-1990s.

“They had never had a winning team and we had a winning team every year,” Bradley said.

The Red Devils went 23-4 in his first season, 22-5 in his second and 22-4 in his third.

Bradley had several more stops.

“Any time anybody said they needed a coach, they said ‘Coach Bradley would be their coach,’” Bradley said with a laugh.

Bradley finally retired in 2010 from Heritage High in Conyers.

“I just enjoyed working with the youngsters. They thought this was important, and it made it important to me. If they wanted to work at it, I wanted to work at it.”

Erik Grover played on all three of Bradley’s Loganville teams.

“He knew how to put players in the right positions and fit their strengths,” Grover said. “He definitely held his players to high standards off the court. He wanted us to do well in the community and academically.”

Zeb Reid, now a high school administrator in South Carolina, helped organize the event.

“Preparation, routine, he was a master of routine drills,” Reid said. “We ran the same thing every day. He had already won more than 1,000 games when he got to Loganville, so we weren’t going to question his methods.”

The methods worked for one of the great coaches in Georgia athletic history.