Mike Bradeson
Mike  Bradeson

Recruiting Coordinator/Safeties

Alma Mater:
Boise State, 1981


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Veteran coach takes over the defense as part of coaching staff restructuring

Mike Bradeson returns for the seventh year of his second tenure in Reno and the veteran coach will remain in familiar territory as Nevada’s recruiting coordinator and safeties coach. Bradeson is the most experienced coach on third-year head coach Brian Polian’s staff, entering his 13th season overall at Nevada.

Bradeson is entering his 24th season coaching in collegiate football. He’s been coaching Nevada’s safeties since 2010 and is also entering his third year as the team’s recruiting coordinator in his second stint with the Pack. Prior to two coaching stops before his second stint at Nevada, Bradeson served as a recruiting coordinator, safeties and special teams coach at Nevada from 1986-91.

Two freshmen shined for Bradeson and the Wolf Pack in 2015 as safeties Asauni Rufus and Dameon Baber excelled and gained valuable experience for the future. Rufus recorded an interception and led the team with 105 tackles while Baber earned All-Mountain West second team honors after collecting 65 tackles and finishing second in the MW with six interceptions in only 10 games. Senior Jaden Sawyer and redshirt freshman Riley Brand will add depth to the secondary for Nevada in 2016.

In 2014, Bradeson helped the Wolf Pack post a 7-6 record and reach a bowl game for the ninth time in the past 10 seasons. Nevada defeated a Pac-12 opponent, rallied past BYU on the road and returned the Fremont Cannon to Reno with a blowout victory over rivals UNLV.

Bradeson coached a pair of safeties in senior Nigel Haikins and junior Duran Workman, who combined for 23-of-26 starts at safety in 2014. Haikins – who was named to the Hampshire Honor Society after graduation – ranked fourth on the team with 76 tackles. Haikins recorded three interceptions and three fumble recoveries while Workman tallied three picks and two forced fumbles, as Bradeson’s safeties helped Nevada rank 11th in the nation in turnover margin last season. The Wolf Pack defense improved in scoring defense, rushing defense, total defense, interceptions and fumbles recovered in 2014, bolstered by Haikins and Workman’s play at safety.

In addition to retaining his role as a safeties coach, Bradeson was promoted to the Pack’s recruiting coordinator in 2013 – head coach Brian Polian’s first season at the helm of the program. Bradeson will guide Nevada’s recruiting efforts while focusing his personal recruiting area to Las Vegas and the Bay Area – to key pipelines for Nevada’s success.

Bradeson mentored a young croup of safeties into a veteran unit in 2012 with multi-year starters Duke Williams and Marlon Johnson. Both Johnson and Williams were among the team leaders in tackles from 2012-2010. Williams recorded 295 stops in his career, which is sixth-best in Nevada history. Johnson provided one of the biggest highlights of the historic 2010 season with his 65-yard interception return for a touchdown that was a pivotal play in the win over Cal.

Williams earned second-team All-Mountain West honors and was named the team's Most Valuable Player on the defensive side of the ball. He was selected in the fourth round (No. 105 overall) in the NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. Williams is the ninth players coached or recruited by Bradeson to go on to the NFL. He also mentored three MW Defensive Players of the Year while at UNLV.

When Bradeson came back to Nevada in 2010, he was coming off 15 seasons at UNLV - the longest tenure of any football coach in that school's history. He coached the secondary throughout his time in Las Vegas and he had a successful five-year run (2000-04) as defensive coordinator under head coach John Robinson.

During that time, Bradeson coached or recruited eight players who went on to the NFL and three Mountain West defensive players of the year. While the coordinator, the UNLV defense led the conference and was seventh nationally in takeaways in 2003. In 2001, UNLV led the conference in passing defense (189.4 ypg) and was 11th nationally in pass efficiency defense.

At UNLV, Bradeson oversaw the development of future NFL DBs Kevin Thomas (Bills), Sam Brandon (Broncos), Eric Wright (Browns) and two-time All-America safety Jamaal Brimmer.

Under Bradeson in 2003, the Rebel defense led the Mountain West in takeaways with 35 and finished seventh in the nation in turnover margin. The unit's five TDs were led by Brimmer, who scored twice en route to First Team All-America honors and being named consensus MWC Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

In 2001, the Rebels led the MWC in passing defense by yielding only 189.4 yards per game and ranked 11th nationally in passing efficiency defense as well. In 2000, UNLV surrendered only 21.8 points per game, the 12th-lowest mark in school history and best since 1986.

Bradeson came to the Rebels in 1996 after four years coaching the secondary at the University of California. He spent his first season in Las Vegas working with the team's inside linebackers.

A 1981 graduate of Boise State, Bradeson was a two-year letterman for the Broncos. He helped his team to the 1980 Div. I-AA national championship with a win over Eastern Kentucky in the Camellia Bowl.

After serving as a graduate assistant for two years, Bradeson was an assistant coach at his alma mater from 1983-85. From there, he moved to Nevada, where he coached from 1986-91. He coached in the secondary, worked with the special teams and also served as the team's recruiting coordinator while with the Pack.

Bradeson was also a member of the 2004 East-West Shrine Game coaching staff.

The File on Mike Bradeson

Born: May 2, 1959
Hometown: Berkeley, Calif.
Family: Wife - April, Son - Drew
Education Bachelor's, Business Management, Boise State, 1981

Coaching Experience
2013-Current: Recruiting Coordinator/Safeties, Nevada
2012: Defensive Coordinator/Safeties, Nevada
2010-11: Safeties, Nevada
2007-2009: Special Teams Coordinator/cornerbacks, UNLV
2005-06: Defensive Backs, UNLV
2000-04: Defensive Coordinator/Secondary, UNLV
1996-99: Recruiting Coordinator/Secondary, UNLV
1992-95: Secondary, Cal
1986-91: Recruiting Coordinator/Secondary and Special Teams, Nevada
1983-85: Secondary/Running Backs, Boise State
1981-82: Graduate Assistant, Boise State

Playing Experience
Boise State: Two-year letterman as a defensive back (1979-80)
Contra Costa College: Two-year letterman as a quarterback (1977-78)
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