by Nate Olson
It took one visit, and Pat Bradley knew Arkansas had more in common with his hometown of Everett, Mass. than he thought. Pat was on a recruiting visit in September of 1994 and Hogs forward Davor Rimac was charged with taking the young Bradley to the Arkansas/Alabama football game.
Bradley says that sometime during the game, he heard a commotion, and turned around and saw the end of a fight that left a man with an Alabama shirt bleeding from his nose.
“I thought, ‘This is great. The fans beat the opponents.’ I want to go to school here,’” Bradley told the Downtown Tip Off Club Monday.
That day the blue-collar kid from the Northeast discovered there are more similarities to the two places he ended up calling home than he thought. After a record-setting playing career, Pat left Arkansas to pursue professional basketball but landed back in Little Rock where he played and coached with the Arkansas Rim Rockers. Then, he embarked on a radio career with 103.7 the Buzz which spanned from 2007 until June of 2018.
Pat may have never left Arkansas, but it was family that pulled him back. His younger sister Sam was sick with brain cancer, and he was dating his soon-to-be wife, Jenine. Sam, 30, died in October of 2018.
Bradley shed tears as he recounted that emotional time. When word got out that Bradley’s sister was sick, Razorback Nation responded with well-wishes and prayers. It definitely helped Bradley cope.
“I had to leave because my sister was sick,” Pat told the crowd. “Everybody has been so supportive. I appreciate you so much because of why I had to leave. You guys understood.”
It was apparent Jenine was Pat’s sunshine during that time. The two grew up in the same area and while she is “much younger” Pat played basketball against her older brother. When a friend bumped into Jenine at a wedding in the summer of 2015, he encouraged Pat “come back and take her on a date.” He did, and the rest is history.
“Coach [Nolan] Richardson always told me, ‘You need a point guard in life,’” Bradley said. “I got my point guard in life right here, so she can point out all the things I do wrong. The ultimate point guard.”
It was Jenine who flew to Little Rock to help Pat pack his belongings to move back to Boston. He admits she packed his entire apartment even though he assured her on the phone he had begun the process.
Pat hadn’t returned to Little Rock since. So, the meeting felt like a reunion where you catch up with a cousin you hadn’t seen. He wanted to share the sorrow of losing Sam and the joy of marrying the love of his life. The packed crowd at the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce banquet hall hung on every word.
And once he finished he showed the witty, funny side that endeared him to radio listeners for years. He told how he made 10 of 24 shots in a game against Texas because former Coach Nolan Richardson had been ejected following his second technical, thus giving Bradley the freedom to be liberal in his shot selection.
Another Richardson bit was set at the 1996 Sweet 16 weekend. UA administration wanted to stay at the game site for an extended time. Richardson wanted to leave. Richardson was overruled, so he called a meeting and instructed his team to order as much room service as possible to run up the bill.
Pat joked that he didn’t want to speculate that incident may have been the beginning of friction between Richardson and UA that eventually ended in the coach’s firing.
Just about when Pat was getting warmed up, his time was up. He had a plane to catch to Charlotte, N.C., where he’s scheduled to appear on the SEC Network studio show Wednesday night.
He’s not scheduled to cover any Arkansas games this season, but hopefully it won’t be as long before he makes it back. Even though he’s happy in his hometown, he misses his adopted home state, and the feeling is mutual.