When Jim Bradley reported to head coach Marv Levy's 1958 football team as a 6-foot-1, 234-pound freshman tackle, the Cleveland, Ohio, native never realized the impact he would have on UNM, Albuquerque and New Mexico.
Bradley attained fame as a second team All-Skyline pick and a first team academic all-conference selection. He was a member of UNM's 1961 Aviation Bowl championship team. Only an untimely knee injury late in his senior season kept him from an NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys.
Bradley repaid UNM ten-fold for the opportunity as he was the first African-American athlete to graduate in four years (1962) and also the first African-American athlete to obtain his Ph.D. (Utah '77).
After UNM, Bradley joined the business world as regional Job Corps executive for Arizona, New Mexico and Utah in 1963. Later, he was named director of the Manpower Training Center (operated by Thiokol Chemical) in Utah where he was responsible for 439 instructors and support staff who taught remedial and vocational education to more than 1,400 disadvantaged youth.
Just as he had reached this success, Bradley suffered his biggest setback - he lost his sight due to sarcodosis of the optic nerve. However, that did not deter him from getting his master's and doctorate from the University of Utah.