The evolution of Bradley Wrestling has provided a true “rags to riches” story. From humble beginnings to over a decade of State dominance, it has been a testament to the value of hard work, perseverance, character, dedication, and a little luck.
The luckiest part of this rich history canine in 1979 with the arrival of Coach Turner Jackson. The lucky parties that he originally was supposed to become the Head Coach of Red Ban High School until the deal fell though at the last minute. Having been the Head Coach at Lakeview/Ft. Oglethorpe for the previous two seasons, he wanted to move back to the Chattanooga area where he had won two 158 lb National Championships for UTC. When the Red Bank job didn’t workout, then Football Coach Louie Alford contacted him and invited him to BCHS for a visit. Red Bank’s loss was our gain. The rest is wrestling history. While the true foundation of the program laid by Coaches Any White, Jerry Frazier and Dale Woodard during the previous five seasons, Coach Jackson brought a knowledge and love for the sport (as well as some punishing leg riding) that began the meteoric rise of BCHS wrestling.
In 1990, UTC wrestler and former Bear Steve Logsdon returned home to become part of the Bradley story. He spent his first season as Assistant Coach under Coach Jackson, who had coached him in high school. Then in 1991, he became Bradley’s fifth Head Coach when he took over the program at the request of his mentor. The coaching team was not broken-up however, as Coach Turner stayed on as assistant coach for the next eight seasons, retiring the same year that the Bears win their first ever State Traditional Championship and their third State Duals Championship. Over the next 11 seasons, the Bears would capture 12 more team State Championships, both traditional and duals.
In 2004, after 13 years at the helm, Coach Logsdon decided to step down and brought 4-time Alabama State Champion, Chad Laxton who guided the team to 2 more state titles in 2005 and 2006 after assisting Coach Logsdon for the previous 2 seasons. Former Bear standouts Ben Smith, Daniel Montgomery and Damon Floyd provided more outstanding coaching as assistants.
While the packed trophy case in the Jim Smiddy Arena is certainly appealing, it is not solely what drives this program. The most rewarding things in this wrestling family are the relationships that have been formed and will continue forever. The life lessons learned here as well as the memories and experiences are what allow Bradley Central Wrestling to achieve the accomplishment of which is most proud; that is to turn young men into good men.