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GVHS athletic director Bradley is movin’ on up

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PARACHUTE, Colorado ” Grand Valley High School is a big part of Jeff Bradley’s identity.

He’s been the school’s athletic director for eight years, its baseball coach for six years, its boys golf coach for six years and its assistant principal for three.

That will only make it stranger for those in Parachute to see him sporting Grand Junction Central Warrior gear come next school year.

Bradley, who’s worked in Garfield County School District 16 for some 15 years, is set to tackle a new challenge as Central’s new athletic director and assistant principal.

“I couldn’t turn it down,” he said of taking the athletic department reins at the Class 5A school.

That said, he’s ready for a step up the career ladder as he leaves 2A Grand Valley behind just as it’s set to transition to Class 3A.

“It’s going to be a jump for me,” Bradley, a North Park alum, noted, “from a smaller school of about 350 to 1,800 there. I’m excited to work with that team. It’ll be a learning experience for me. They have some sports there that we don’t have to work with. I’m excited about the change, the new set of challenges.”

This isn’t a move Bradley was actively seeking. It just sort of happened. His wife was browsing the Internet one day and happened upon a listing for the Mesa County Valley School District 51 AD opening.

Bradley didn’t apply for that one.

He waited until the district, which includes Central, Grand Junction, Fruita Monument and Palisade, filled its position by promoting Central AD Paul Cain.

“I kind of had an idea that if that was open, Paul Cain would get it,” Bradley noted. “So the Central position opened up and I threw my name in there and it happened.”

Cain, a former AD at Basalt, knows Bradley well.

“I’ve worked with Jeff as a fellow AD for the last eight years,” he said. “He’s someone who’s very knowledgeable and hard working. He takes care of the details, not only as an athletic director but as an assistant principal. He’s a perfect fit for what we’re looking for here at Central.”

Grand Valley athletics have blossomed under Bradley’s watch, though he’s quick to deflect the credit.

The boys basketball team won the state title in 2007 and the Cardinals did the same in wrestling in 2008. Virtually every other program made the playoffs or had individual athletes excel at state or regional events.

“Those state titles were the first two in history,” Bradley said. “To be part of that as an AD is always nice. That’s a credit to the many quality coaches we have here. They care about the kids, they know what’s right and wrong. Their demeanor is outstanding.”

Scott Kiburis, who landed Grand Valley that hoops state title and is leaving the school to take a job at Elizabeth, considers Bradley a close friend and high-quality colleague.

“He’s one of the main reasons why all our programs are headed in the direction they are,” said the now former Cards’ coach. “He’s the best AD I’d want to work for. He’s completely organized. We never had to worry about anything on gameday. He was always double checking and asking everything we wanted before doing it.”

And Bradley isn’t applying a lame-duck approach in his final days as Grand Valley’s AD. He’s already filled the boys basketball and boys golf coaching vacancies, and is in making headway on assembling a baseball coaching staff.

“There are a lot of things here still to take care of,” Bradley said. “I want to make sure I leave Grand Valley in a good sports position, where they’re not struggling to get things done.”

As someone who’s invested so much into and takes so much pride in Cardinal athletics, it’s no shocker he wants to leave with all loose ends securely knotted.

“We have some good things going here (at Grand Valley), so much success,” Bradley said. “Our programs are strong. It’s a tough time to leave.”


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