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Deanna Bradley Steps Down as Women's Basketball Head Coach

Deanna Bradley Steps Down as Women's Basketball Head Coach

SAINT MARY OF THE WOODS, Ind. - A new age in Saint Mary-of-the Woods College women’s  basketball will begin as one recognizable face will step away from the coaches' box. Athletic Director Deanna Bradley announced Wednesday morning that she will resign as head women’s basketball coach of the Pomeroys. Holding the position of athletic director as well, Bradley will shift more of her focus on that role.

Bradley, who established the SMWC  women’s basketball program in 1994, the school’s first scholarship athletic program, decided that it is time to step down as head coach.

“God has blessed me with the opportunity to be a head coach for 32 years, 24 of them at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods  College. I have been through every phase a coach can go through, always with the goal of looking at the greater good and bigger picture for the student-athletes.” Bradley stated.

In her tenure as the Pomeroys head coach, Bradley headed the program to a 1999-2000 NSCAA tournament appearance including a National Championship runner-up finish. Within the United States Collegiate Athletic Association, five teams have qualified for the Division I USCAA National tournament under Bradley's direction (2001-02, 2009-10, 2012-13, 2014-15, 2017-18). She has produced 35 USCAA All-Academic student-athletes, three USCAA All-American First Team members, five USCAA All-American  Second Team members, four USCAA All-American  Honorable Mention members, and one GTE Academic All-American.  She has also coached two players who were named to the USCAA All-Tournament team.

“I’ve been praying about this decision for a very long time, listening to God’s guidance during this difficult process. While I am at peace with the decision, it has been personally challenging with many sleepless nights.” said Bradley. “However, it is time to sign off on that final page to what has been an amazing journey. I tell my players to enjoy the process. The rest will take care of itself, and it certainly has.”

“One thing for sure, if you’re a coach, at any level, you’re probably a little crazy. We work 60+ hours a week, give up our evenings, our weekends, summers, mentor our student-athletes, demand big things from them and ourselves, are passionate about our team and our sport, all while hoping to have a positive and long-lasting impact in the lives of all we meet along the long journey. That has described my life for 32 years.”

Bradley, who thanked the school, former players, staff, and officials, added that she is blessed to do what she loved for such a long period of time.

“I am grateful for my time; rarely does one get to do what they love for 32 years. I will always appreciate the  wonderful relationships which have developed along this path. I am grateful to so many of my colleagues, officials, fans, families, my assistant coach Aaron Ballenger, and most importantly, the players.” mentioned Bradley. “It has been my honor and blessing to have coached so many terrific young women.  Most of them will never know the positive impact they have had on my life, and I will forever be grateful to them. I hope I have served  them well.”

“I look forward to being a part of the continued growth of all our teams, with a special connection to the women’s basketball program, only this time, through a different lens. The future is bright for this young group, and I am very excited for them.”

Women’s basketball assistant coach Aaron Ballenger, who has served under Bradley for 16 years is saddened by her decision.

“Coach Bradley has poured everything she has into this basketball program, so I know walking away was not an easy decision. Coach Bradley  always had the big picture in mind for both her players and assistant coaches. I know there were times I did not like some lessons she taught me, but I became a better person for it and I know that the players, managers, and coaches that have gone through this program are better people because of her. Her mark on this program will last for many years.”

The SMWC athletic department will embark on a search for a successor immediately.

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