A familiar face to athletes involved with the Bullard Independent School District’s athletic department will be returning to the Panther coaching staff for the 2018-2019 school year.
Colt Bradford was recently hired by Bullard ISD athletic director and head football coach Scott Callaway to fill the roles of defensive coordinator for the Panther football team, as well as the head coach of the Lady Panther powerlifting team.
“I’m really excited to come back to Bullard,” said Bradford. “During my time away, I missed the kids, the school, and the community. Now that I’m back, I feel that I’m where I belong. It’s a blessing to be able to coach at a school like Bullard, and we’re expecting great things this year.”
After graduating college, Bradford was hired for his first coaching job, hired on to the coaching staff at San Angelo’s Central High School, coaching cornerbacks for the Central Bobcats.
Bradford decided then to move to the East Texas area, applying and accepting a running backs and defensive backs coaching position at Center High School.
It was while coaching for the Center Roughriders that Bradford was attracted to the possibility of one day coaching at Bullard.
“I really didn’t know a lot about Bullard until we (Center) played them,” said Bradford. “We actually ended up whipping the dog out of them. I saw that Bullard had really nice facilities, and a position just happened to come open. I knew it was closer to a bigger city in Tyler and you weren’t in the middle of the woods.”
During his first tenure at Bullard, Bradford worked under former Panther football head coach Jim Taylor, coaching the team’s secondary, as well as defensive line midway through his first season.
After the departure of Taylor, Bradford remained with Bullard, as he was retained by Shannon Wilson, who succeeded Taylor in January 2010.
Bradford served under Wilson until 2016, when he decided to depart Bullard to follow for Panther assistant coach Drew Starnes, who became the head football coach at All Saints Episcopal School in Tyler.
“I had always told Drew that if he ever got his own team and it was somewhere in this area, I would go with him,” said Bradford. “I was his defensive coordinator, but during that experience, I quickly learned that a private school setting wasn’t for me, and that I missed public school kids. I loved working with Drew, and they were really good to me.”
After departing All Saints, Bradford’s career led him southwest from Tyler to Palestine High School, where he coached during the 2017-2018 school year.
According to Bradford, the open door opportunity to coach once again at Bullard was one he knew he had to step through.
“Coming back to Bullard was definitely the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Bradford. “It was really just the people and the community that drew me to reapplying here. Even when I was coaching at Palestine, I didn’t move from Bullard because I love the town. You can’t get a better school district than Bullard – it’s the best school district in East Texas and everyone knows it.”
Bradford said once he was hired by Callaway and reentered the Bullard High School field house once again as a Panther coach, he was immediately hit by the overwhelming scene of being at a place he calls ‘home.’
“This is my home,” said Bradford. “It’s a weird feeling that you can’t describe – it just feels right and you feel comfortable.
Bradford is a Class of 2001 graduate of Hawley High School. Afterwards, he attended Angelo State University in San Angelo, where he was a nickleback for the Angelo State Rams football team.
While at Angelo State, Bradford earned a Bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2006, while also picking up degrees concentrated on history, English, and science. Bradford has a daughter, Ella, 6.
According to Callaway, he decided to hire Bradford for a second tenure at Bullard because of his passion for the school and community.
“We’re excited to have Coach Bradford back on staff here at Bullard,” said Callaway. “He’s been back for a couple of months now and I’ve had an opportunity to get to know him pretty well. He really communicated to me during his interview process that this is his home, as well as that he loves this school, our athletes, and our community, and is excited about preparing for a ‘second tour of duty.’”