The McQuaid Jesuit community is saddened to report the passing of longtime English teacher and coach, Mr. Robert Bradley.
A New Jersey native, Bradley graduated in 1947 from St. Peter’s Prep, a Jesuit high school in Jersey City. From there he entered the Marines, rising to the rank of sergeant during a three-year term that included a tour in Korea. Upon his return to the States, Bradley attended Fordham University in the Bronx, New York.
Following his 1960 graduation, Bradley moved to Rochester to teach English at McQuaid and quickly became immersed in the community. The young bachelor religiously attended Mass, sporting events, and stayed after school to help his students. His freshman level classes read and studied Bradley’s favorite novel, J.D. Salinger’s, The Catcher in the Rye. Bradley said he used the book because, “high school students can relate to and understand its main character, Holden Caulfield.”
In 1962, a Jesuit friend came to the young teacher when the cross-country team was in need of a coach. Bradley accepted the position, but not before testing his own endurance to ensure he would be able to jog with his athletes. The rest, as they say, is history.
In 44 seasons, his teams captured 10 Sectional titles, two New York state titles, and achieved countless record-breaking performances. He also spent several years as the school’s indoor and outdoor track coach, capturing an additional nine Sectional titles (three indoor, six outdoor). As successful as his teams were, the pride Bradley had for the McQuaid education meant that excellence off the field always was the first priority and commitment to faith never was forgotten.
For Bradley, the most important part of his career was his position as a provider of opportunity. He never cut anyone and always encouraged students not involved with other teams to come out and learn the, “beauty and fun” of running. In 1965, seeing that the cross-country season had an open week, he began the McQuaid Invitational, giving athletes yet another opportunity to compete. From the inaugural race featuring 11 teams following a police car down Elmwood Avenue, to establishing a home in 1973 at Genesee Valley Park, to continuously growing the event into, what one former runner called, the Woodstock of cross-country racing,” Bradley always sought to improve and expand the race which today is the largest high school cross-country race in the nation.
While he retired from coaching and teaching in 2006, Bradley never truly left McQuaid, as alumni always requested his presence at reunions and he served as McQuaid’s representative at hundreds of wakes and funerals to show support for students and alumni who faced the death of a loved one. When former runners and students saw Bradley, they always left in amazement at the phenomenal memory and every-vibrant and engaging personality.
Bradley is survived by his wife Ann Marie; son H. Robert (Carly); and daughters Audrey Shaughnessy and Amy (Daryl) Bowker.
Alumni and friends may pay their respects to their teacher and coach at a wake in the Fr. Edward F. Salmon, S.J. Student Chapel at McQuaid Jesuit, Thursday, January 2, 2020 from 4-8 p.m. and Friday, January 3, 2020 from 2-6 p.m.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, January 4, 2020 at 10 a.m. at St. Thomas More Church, 2617 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14610.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to McQuaid Jesuit in his memory.