The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

August 2, 2013

Memorable first for new MSSU assistant Nick Bradford

Wednesday was a big day for Nick Bradford.

And not just because he became an assistant men’s basketball coach at Missouri Southern.

After that announcement, Bradford made a marriage proposal to Brittani Bond.

“Now I’m engaged and excited,” Bradford said. “I was going to do it sometime in July, didn’t really know when. This opportunity came, and I just decided to go ahead and go for it. We’ve been dating for a while, and I’m glad she said yes.

“I was nervous, but she made it easy for me. It was a big day, a big day.”

Bradford refused to rank Wednesday’s two big events.

“I’ll stay safe and play it even,” he said. “But I’m just excited to be here, and my family from Fayetteville is excited as well. They get to watch a lot of games.”

Bradford joined the Lions’ staff after spending the previous two years as an assistant at Labette Community College.

“Several things attracted me to the job,” Bradford said during Thursday night’s SouthernFest ’13 at the Downstream Casino Pavilion. “It’s been a good program in the past. I have a great relationship with Coach (Jeff) Boschee and actually a short relationship with Coach (Robert) Corn, who recruited one of our players last year (at Labette Community College). I got to know him a little bit.

“I’m from Fayetteville, so being close to home, it seemed to be a perfect fit.”

Bradford played four seasons at Kansas, helping the Jayhawks win Big 12 championships his first three years from 1997-99. He and Boschee were teammates at KU in Bradford’s final two seasons.

“Jeff could really shoot it,” Bradford said. “His first two years were my last two years, so I feel like I groomed him a little bit for college life and some of the things to expect.

“Jeff was a great teammate and one of the two or three guys who I really stayed connected with after college. We also played against each other in Europe, which made it fun. We have a great relationship and I’m happy we get the opportunity to coach together.”

Bradford played professional basketball in Europe for eight seasons.

“The hardest part is to adjust to it being a job,” Bradford said. “There are some days that you really don’t feel like going out there and doing it, but you have to do your job, be professional, be on time. Adjusting to the culture and food is different, but all my teammates and coaches were great over there. I was fortunate not to be in any real bad situations, so that helped.

“Each year did get a little easier, no question. Iceland was my first European experience, and after that, it just kind of rolled from there. The fans treated me well, the coaches, teammates and their families. It really was like a family over there.”

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