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Monday, Dec. 30, 2019: Retired McQuaid coach Bob Bradley dies

   Leading off today: Retired McQuaid cross country and track and field coach Bob Bradley has died, the school announced Monday. He was 89.

   Bradley taught English at the Section 5 school for 46 years and founded the McQuaid Invitational cross country meet in 1965 as an opportunity to showcase Knights star distance runner Eric Kendrick. The meet moved to Genesee Valley Park in 1973 and has grown into one of the largest meets in the country with more than 8,000 competitors from across the Northeast, Midwest and Canada.

   Following his retirement from coaching, the New York City native and Fordham University graduate remained active in organizing the annual meet and serving as the public address announcer. He worked all 55 McQuaid Invitationals in some capacity.

   Bradley became McQuaid's cross country coach in 1962 and rolled up 19 sectional championships in cross country, indoor or outdoor track. His teams are credited with three NYSPHSAA championships, but Bradley and his runners sent the 1981 trophy to Syracuse Corcoran. In that meet, heavy snow caused the Cougars' Steve Loretz and Penfield's Grant Whitney to run off the course and be disqualified, costing Corcoran the official title.

   His cross country teams compiled 204 consective dual-meet victories from 1971-2000 (a streak that was No. 3 nationally all-time at that point) and Bradley also helped organize the first Rochester Indoor Track League, which was a blueprint for several other leagues and sections across the state.

   Remembering the McQuaid legend: I think I probably spent more time talking with Bob Bradley than any other coach over the years and was constantly amazed by his ability to recall the most minute details of races from decades ago.

   He was helpful on numerous stories I wrote over the years and also did me a great service -- though I wouldn't admit it at the time -- for calling me at the office to chew me out after I wrote a story in which an athlete took an unfair shot at Bradley beloved school. Bradley's words reminded me of the need to be more careful.

   A little further down the road, he called to lodge a protest with me for calling some of his runners for a reaction to a breaking news story -- McQuaid's track team being disqualified from sectionals for competing in too many meets -- but he ended the call by acknowledging that I was just doing my job.


   As a coach, the Korean War veteran was a competitor looking for any edge. Generations of his runners undoubtedly entertain their children with stories of Bradley loading the cross country team into the school van traveling all around the northeast for meets each fall weekend. Many of those trips included detours on the way to home to scout that season's state meet courses.Some of the indoor track road trips involved weekend doubleheaders at venues hundreds of miles apart.

   In sectional championship meets, he'd use whatever gimmick he could dream up to buy a few extra minutes between the 1,600- and 3,200-meter relays at the end of the day to get his star quartets a few extra minutes of rest.

   But such was the respect for Bradley in the Rochester running community that a lawyer who graduated from arch-rival Aquinas took the McQuaid disqualification appeal to court pro bono and got the Knights restored to sectionals, paving the way for a state championship for the prized relay team.

   A thought: Nine of the 26 high school races at the McQuaid Invitational are named in memory of individuals with significant ties to the cross country community over the years, including the likes of Winn Hatt, Tony Canali and Bob Goodell.

   It's very likely that McQuaid school officials have already contemplated how best to honor their former coach's memory. I would not be at all surprised if the massive meet at Genesee Valley Park in the fall of 2020 was renamed the 56th annual Bob Bradley McQuaid Invitational.

   Referee recovering: Section 6 basketball referee Benjy Bluman is recovering after collapsing while working a game at Williamsville North and being revived by two doctors and two nurses in the crowd Saturday.

   Bluman, 74, a member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, remains at Buffalo General Medical Center but is feeling better, according to his wife.

   After Bluman collapsed Saturday, the four medical professionals worked on him for approximately 15 minutes

as the crowd looked on in silence. They immediately began CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and continued until he regained consciousness. They also used a defibrillator three times to restore a heartbeat.

   At one point, school officials, fearing the worst, rigged up a curtain around them.

   "It was a miracle, it really was," said Heidi Neu, one of the nurses. "We were definitely worried about him."

   By the time emergency personnel carried Bluman out of the gym, he had regained his vital signs and was awake.

   "When he left, his eyes were open," Dr. Jeffery Neu said of Bluman, who has been a high school and college basketball official for 45 years and is a past president of the local IAABO board.

    • Bluman collapsed midway through the first quarter of the Five Guys Tournament championship game between Williamsville North and Williamsville East. The contest was suspended and will be completed at a date to be announced.

   Memorable milestone: Considering the length of the game, I'm not sure whether to credit Wally Bachman with 450 or 450½ career victories.

   Bachman's Jericho boys basketball squad defeated Walt Whitman 86-83 in four overtimes Saturday.

   Brendan Weiss' free throw gave Jericho the lead for good at 84-83 with 20 seconds to go. Weiss finished with five 3-pointers and 32 points and Yaewon You added 23.

   Michael McIndoo scored 36 points for Whitman.

   Speaking of milestones: Wildcats coach Jim Weir picked up his 400th career win Saturday in Milford's 49-30 win over Laurens in the consolation game of the Stamford Christmas Tournament.

   Leanna West finished with a game-high 18 points and Samantha Harvey had 15.

   "I've been blessed to have a lot of great players and a lot of great teams for 29 and a half years and that's what it's all about, Weir said.

   Words escape me: See if you can spot the problem with this tweet from the end of last week:

   Personally, my favorite part of high school wrestling is when one of the competitors drags his opponent up to the top rope and returns him to the mat with a suplex.

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