Rickey Bradley firmly believes an answered prayer brought him back to The University of Southern Mississippi, where he excelled as a football player in the late 1980s.
Bradley, a Bay Springs, Miss., native is the newest member of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at Southern Miss. Bradley serves as project coordinator for the center, overseeing conferences with area law enforcement agencies about the importance of stadium security.
Before joining the NCS4 team, Bradley, 41, had spent the previous seven years as an automobile salesman in Hattiesburg.
“It wasn’t that long ago that I got up one morning and just asked the Lord to put me in a different place,” said Bradley. “As we all saw, the bottom just fell out of the auto business and I knew I needed some help.
“Later that day my wife called and said someone was looking for me to talk about a job possibility.”
That “someone” turned out to be Thomas Tuggle with the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Tuggle served as a platoon leader at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer’s Training Academy in 1993 when Bradley came through as a cadet. Tuggle had heard about a staff position open at the NCS4 for a person with Bradley’s credentials and decided to test his old friend’s interest level.
A subsequent meeting with center Director Lou Marciani led to Bradley’s hiring on July 1.
“Rickey brings a special skill-set to the center,” said Marciani. “His law enforcement background and involvement with intercollegiate athletics provide the center with expertise in addressing the potential threats, mitigation, response and recovery strategies for intercollegiate athletic events.”
Bradley played running back for the Golden Eagles from 1987-1990. During that time he rushed for 1,389 yards on 323 carries with 19 touchdowns. After graduating with a degree in criminal justice, Bradley took a job with the Purvis Police Department, followed by a four-year stint with the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office.
Though he took a somewhat circuitous route, Bradley beams when talking about a return to his alma mater.
“I love my job and I’m excited about being a part of the center,” he said. “It feels good to be back home.”
Bradley and his wife, MaeLang, have two children – Shannon, 21, and Rickey Jr., (18).
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.