by Mike Magers
Coach Jim Bradley of Las Cruces was a living legend, having won over 300 games in New Mexico high school football and state championships at two schools. He is second only to Eric Roanhaus of Clovis in total wins among New Mexico high school coaches.
Bradley’s career began in the 1950s when he served as an assistant football coach under Rudy Camunez at Las Cruces High School beginning in 1958. He later served as Offensive Coordinator under Coach Ed Boykin until 1995. During that period, he also served as Head Baseball Coach, compiling a record of 98-16.
Bradley was hired as the first head football coach at Mayfield High School in Las Cruces in 1965, a post he held until 1972, where he led the Trojans to a state championship in 1971. From 1973 to 1977 he served as head football coach at New Mexico State University. While at NMSU, the Aggies tied for second place in the Missouri Valley Conference in 1974 and 1975 and tied Tulsa for first place in 1976. Following his stint at NMSU, he became head coach at Roswell High from 1980 to 1993. His Roswell Coyote teams earned 2 state championships during his tenure. Upon leaving Roswell High, Bradley resumed coaching at Mayfield, where he again served as head coach from 1994 until 2005. His Mayfield teams secured 4 state championships during this period.
Coaching honors earned by Bradley include being named to the New Mexico High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame and Hall of Honor, being named Coach of the Year numerous times, receiving Distinguished Service Awards from the National High School Coaches Association. Coach Bradley has served several times on the NMHSCA board of directors and has also served as President of that organization.
Coach Jim Bradley has served the student athletes and the State of New Mexico for the better part of six decades. He has three sons who have also been coaches, two of whom are currently head coaches in New Mexico. Sons Michael Bradley and Gary Bradley each led their Farmington and Mayfield teams to State Championships in 2013. To the best of our knowledge, this has never before occurred in New Mexico High School football. In addition to his sons, numerous other coaches have served with him including current Hatch Valley coach Jack Cisco, current Las Cruces coach Jim Miller and former Cleveland head coach Kirk Potter.
Coach Bradley passed away in 2015 after an illness.