Mike Bradbury’s basketball coaching résumé is heavy on two things: recruiting success and winning.
Bradbury, who was named as the University of New Mexico’s new women’s basketball coach Wednesday, won consistently in two previous head-coaching stops and as an assistant. He comes to UNM after spending the last six seasons at Wright State and will be formally introduced today in a 1:30 p.m. press conference at the Pit.
Neither Bradbury nor UNM athletic director Paul Krebs was available for questions Wednesday, but Krebs released a statement shortly after the hiring was announced.
“I am excited to have Mike Bradbury lead our women’s basketball program,” Krebs’ statement said. “We looked at a lot of candidates, and Mike rose to the top with his past successes, both as a head coach at Wright State and Morehead State and as an assistant. Mike has a great reputation as a recruiter, as a coach and as an educator, and I’m proud to welcome him, his wife Christy and his two children, Alex and Sena Nicole, to the Lobo family.”
Wednesday’s announcement capped a 12-day search that began when Yvonne Sanchez was fired March 18. Sanchez went 77-81 in five seasons as head coach, including 17-15 in 2015-16.
Bradbury, who becomes UNM’s sixth women’s basketball coach, compiled a 178-117 record in nine combined seasons at Wright State and Morehead State. Terms of his UNM contract have not been released, but his annual salary figures to exceed the $144,374 Bradbury earned at Wright State (as of 2014). Sanchez received $266,664 a year at UNM.
Wright State, located in Dayton, Ohio, began drawing attention for women’s basketball during Bradbury’s tenure. The Raiders went 128-73 in his six seasons and reached postseason five times, including an NCAA Tournament
berth in 2013-14. Wright State had never competed in postseason play prior to Bradbury’s arrival.
The synopsis for Bradbury’s three-season stint at Kentucky’s Morehead State is similar. His Eagles teams went 50-44 and set a program record for wins by finishing 22-11 in 2009-10.
Overall, Bradbury’s teams have had just two losing seasons, his first at Morehead State (11-19) and an injury ravaged 2012-13 campaign at Wright State (12-18). Otherwise his teams have averaged more than 22 wins per season.
The winning trend dates to Bradbury’s tenure as an assistant coach at Cincinnati and Xavier. The Bearcats were 127-57 with two NCAA berths from 1996-2002, and the Musketeers went 106-50 with two NCAA trips and three WNIT appearances from 2002-07.
Bradbury was credited for his work as a recruiter at both schools, particularly Xavier, which had three top-25-rated national recruiting classes in a row.
Bradbury could easily have appeared on Krebs’ radar during that span. Krebs served as associate athletic director at Ohio State from 1993-99 and as AD at Bowling Green State from 1999-2006.
When it comes to playing style, Bradbury’s teams have employed an up-tempo approach. Wright State led the Horizon League in scoring offense (75.9 points per game) this season, which seemed to live up to his prediction upon taking the job.
“We will play fast, take the first available shot and put up a lot of 3s,” Bradbury told Wright State University Magazine in 2010.
Wright State also led the Horizon League in rebounding margin in 2015-16 but did not fare as well in its shooting percentages. The Raiders ranked ninth among 10 teams in 3-point percentage and last in free throw percentage. Nonetheless, they finished 24-11, tied for second place and ultimately fell to Michigan in the first round of the WNIT.
Bradbury displayed a fiery side early in his Wright State tenure, twice picking up two technical fouls in a game. In 2012 he issued an apology after tossing his suit jacket into the crowd and being ejected from a game against Butler. He received a one-game suspension for violating the Horizon League’s code of sportsmanlike conduct when he received two technicals in a game the following season.
Still, Bradbury has been lauded for his even-handed approach with players. Asked about his players’ positive demeanor and chemistry during a 2015 interview with Wright State’s student newspaper, The Guardian, Bradbury said, “We just treat them right. I treat them like they’re my kids.”
Bradbury and Christy have a 10-year-old son, Alex, and a 6-year-old daughter, Sena Nicole. The couple adopted Sena from Ethiopia in 2010, shortly after Bradbury was hired at Wright State.
Bradbury graduated from Tennessee Chattanooga in 1993 but various online biographies fail to include his age or hometown. He is scheduled to meet with returning Lobo players and interim coach Amy Beggin for the first time prior to today’s press conference.