By David Esteppe
Greenbrier East High School alumni, and former athlete Travis McClintic, is both celebrating the life of a mentor, and mourning along with the community, the death of longtime basketball coach and Athletic Director Jerry Clark Bradley. Bradley passed away on October 14 after bravely battling illness for the past year and a half.
McCintic recently participated in a 17 hour, 197 mile bike ride along Route 219 from the border of Maryland to Rich Creek in Monroe County. The Muscles for Miracles fundraising event was done in conjunction with the local United Way Foundation. McClintic says, “I was so honored to be able to participate in this event, and raise the amount of money that it did for the family of a man who was much more than a basketball coach to me and others.”
The event raised over $10,000 and will be presented to the Bradley family to offset medical expenses. At press time, it is still being decided whether or not to present to funds at a ceremony during the next football game, or directly to the family during Bradley’s service this weekend.
A celebration of Bradley will be held at the Cecil Underwood Building on the grounds of the State Fair of West Virginia in Fairlea on Saturday, Oct. 25. The service will begin at 2 p.m. The open house visitation with food and refreshments will immediately follow the service and end at 6 p.m.
McCintic shared some of his personal feelings and experiences about having Bradley as a basketball coach from 1999 through 2002. McClintic firstly wanted to note that during his senior year, the boy’s varsity basketball team won districts, regionals and went to the state tournament for the first time in 16 years, and that it hasn’t happened since. What made this accomplishment so fulfilling is that the team wasn’t the most gifted bunch, according to McClintic. The magic that carried the team so far came from Bradley’s great knowledge of the sport of basketball, combined with his ability to support and motivate the kids.
McClintic says his family dynamic during high school meant that his father was away most of the time. He participated in sports and looked up to his coaches. In Bradley, he found not only a mentor and coach, but a friend and father figure. After graduation, McClintic and Bradley remained friends. “I could call him anytime, and my friendship with this man throughout the years motivated me to become a physical therapist and to pay forward the help and guidance to other students and athletes. I spent summers working with him as a counselor in basketball camps and volunteered physical therapy services to middle and high school athletes. I worked side by side with him during his time as Athletic Director,” he said.
Recently, McCintic was able to visit his friend in UVA Medical Hospital, and shared with Bradley how much money was raised in his honor, and how the donations had poured in so quickly. McClintic wanted his friend to know that his family was going to be okay and how much support they had in the community. Bradley was able to communicate understanding. “That meant a lot to me, to be able to have that moment with him,” McClintic said.