Gus Bradley joins the Chargers as defensive coordinator in 2017 after spending the past four seasons (2013-16) as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars ranked sixth in the NFL in overall defense in 2016, surrendering just 321.7 yards per game, while ranking fifth against the pass (215.2 ypg).
A native of Zumbrota, Minn., Bradley went to college at North Dakota State where played free safety and was the team’s punter. A four-time Academic All-North Central Conference selection and a member of the Bison’s 1988 national championship team, Bradley earned degrees in business administration and physical education from NDSU, as well as a master’s degree in athletic administration.
Bradley began his coaching career at North Dakota State, spending two seasons (1990-91) as a graduate assistant, followed by a four-year run as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Fort Lewis College (1992-95). For four months (December 1995-March 1996), Bradley also served as the head coach at Fort Lewis.
Bradley returned to North Dakota State in 1996 and spent the next 10 seasons (1996-05) serving in a number of different roles, including defensive coordinator, assistant head coach and linebackers coach. As NDSU’s defensive coordinator in 2005, the Bison led the Great West Football Conference in scoring defense, pass defense, total defense and turnover margin.
In 2006, Bradley landed his first NFL job in Tampa Bay. He spent one season (2006) as a defensive quality control coach and two (2007-08) as the Buccaneers’ linebackers coach. Linebacker Derrick Brooks earned Pro Bowl appearances in each of his two seasons working with Bradley.
In 2009, the Seattle Seahawks hired Bradley as defensive coordinator and he helped mold Seattle’s defense into one of the league’s best. The Seahawks made postseason appearances following two of Bradley’s four seasons (2009-12) in the Pacific Northwest. In 2009, the Seahawks posted two shutouts at home for the first time since 1986. In 2011, Seattle’s defense ranked ninth in the NFL for just the sixth top-10 finish in the club’s 36-year history and first since 1997. Three Seahawks defenders – Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Brandon Browner – were selected to the Pro Bowl. And in his final season with the Seahawks in 2012, Seattle set franchise records for fewest points (15.3) and yards per game allowed (306.2), the former of which led the NFL. At the end of the 2012 season, Thomas was voted to his second consecutive Pro Bowl, while Richard Sherman earned first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors after leading the team and tying for second in the NFL with eight interceptions.
In 2013, Bradley was named the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. In his first season, the Jaguars posted a 4-4 mark following the bye week, with three of the wins on the road. In 2014, Jacksonville showed significant improvement in sacking opposing quarterbacks. The Jags raised their sack total from 31 in Bradley’s first season to 45 in his second (2014), a total that ranked sixth in the NFL. The Jaguars led the NFL with 12 sack/forced fumbles and ranked third with 19 total forced fumbles. In 2015, Jacksonville’s offense produced 44 touchdowns, third in team history, and the team scored 376 points, fifth in team annals.
Bradley and his wife, Michaela, have four children; Carter, Anna, Eli and Ella.