Lisa Bradley is a woman living in a man‚??s world and she‚??s loving every minute of it.
The 1983 Bath High School graduate is the men‚??s basketball head coach at World Harvest Bible College in Columbus. But how she got to this point is really an incredible story.
Bradley was an all-state basketball player at Bath, where she still is the Wildkittens‚?? all-time leading scorer with 2,015 points.
Bradley played collegiately at the University of Illinois, where she was a four-year starter and an All-Big 10 performer.
Bradley began her college coaching career at Ohio University as a graduate assistant under fellow Bath grad Amy Prichard.
In 1989, Bradley moved to Oxford and became an assistant coach at Miami, and in 1993 was promoted to head coach of the Lady Redhawks. At age 27, Bradley became the youngest head coach of a women‚??s college hoops program. She enjoyed instant success leading Miami to four 19-win seasons in five years.
But Bradley felt another calling for her life. A calling to ministry and to implement athletics at World Harvest Bible College. The problem was she hadn‚??t talked to anyone at World Harvest about the idea.
It didn‚??t matter. Bradley abruptly resigned her head coaching job at Miami determined to start the next chapter in her life.
Her connection to World Harvest began with a television show she watched while coaching at Miami. It grew into Bradley traveling 300 miles each Sunday to attend the World Harvest worship service in Columbus. And finally, she moved to the capital city to be closer to World Harvest, even though she had yet to talk to anyone about what she felt was her calling in life.
‚??What began as a quest for personal glory became a quest for His glory, God‚??s glory,‚?Ě Bradley said.
Finally, there was a break for Bradley in 1999. After meeting with World Harvest administrators and putting together a proposal for starting up an athletic program, she was asked to field a men‚??s college basketball team to participate in the Circleville Bible College Tournament. Again, no formal team at World Harvest. No athletics. She was given six-and-a-half weeks to find players from the school who would be interested in playing in the tourney.
World Harvest won its first ever college basketball game, though they were not sanctioned yet and finished runner-up in the tournament. It was the start of something big.
She met World Harvest Pastor Rod Parsley who asked her to become athletic director at the World Harvest prep school and became the men‚??s basketball coach at the college as well.
And like she did at Miami, Bradley enjoyed immediate success. Her World Harvest team finished national runner-up in the National Bible College Athletic Association in 2001. They won the national championship the following year. All was well with Bradley or was it?
‚??I met with Pastor (Rod Parsley) and his wife Joni. I felt that it was important to publish a book to tell my life story.‚?Ě
So Bradley resigned as men‚??s basketball coach at World Harvest and wrote a book, an autobiography entitled: For His Glory.
‚??God uses yielded vessels, not perfect ones. That‚??s why he could use me.‚?Ě
Bradley‚??s life story didn‚??t end there. ‚??During my time off, Pastor was not happy with the men‚??s basketball program and the direction it was heading. So he depleted the program for two years. In 2007, he asked me back to once again be head coach and to become the college‚??s athletic director and implement athletics.‚?Ě
For the last two years, she has been the World Harvest men‚??s basketball head coach and again her teams have been very successful. Last year World Harvest finished 21-5 and won the Ohio Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.
What‚??s it like for Bradley to be a woman coaching in a man‚??s world? ‚??It doesn‚??t change the game. It‚??s still basketball. I demand respect from my players and receive it from them as well as from my peers and officials. It has been a tremendous experience.‚?Ě
And Bradley‚??s story gets even better.
World Harvest will add men‚??s soccer and women‚??s basketball to its athletics program this fall, and men‚??s baseball and women‚??s volleyball will be added the following year.
And World Harvest will become Valor University, a four-year school, in the fall of 2010.
Bradley‚??s calling has come true.
But she is not done. Bradley is also president of Triple Threat Athletics, and her basketball camp comes to Lima next week. ‚??I want to obey (God) and have an impact on our young people. They need role models. It‚??s important for me to have an impact on them and guide them beyond the hardwood floor; to prepare them for the rest of their lives.‚?Ě
I think she is doing just that.
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