Josh Bradford is in his ninth season as an assistant coach at the University of Toledo. Bradford is entering his seventh season as a full-time assistant after having worked as the volunteer assistant in 2004-05. He serves as the program’s recruiting coordinator and pitching coach.
Under Bradford’s guidance, a quintet of Rocket hurlers have made All-MAC honors on seven occasions — Ryan Wilkinson (first team in 2013, second team in 2012), Lincoln Rassi (first team in 2012), Mike Hamann (second team in 2010), Matt Suschak (second team in 2010) and Matt Kuna (first team in 2012, second team 2009). Kuna also garnered second-team All-Mideast region accolades following the 2012 campaign.
In addition, a total of 12 UT hurlers have been selected in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft or signed as free agents on 15 occasions during Bradford’s time working with the Midnight Blue & Gold.
Bradford has also been instrumental in the recruiting process, consistently securing some of the top recruiting classes in the state according to The Buckeye Scout.
“Josh has done a great job as our pitching coach and recruiting coordinator,” 2010 MAC Coach of the Year Cory Mee said. “From a pitching standpoint, he has such a way of working with the guys, communicating with them and developing a relationship to help them become the best they can be. As far as recruiting goes, Josh has excelled at identifying talented players, but also making sure they’re the best fit for our program. I’m extremely lucky to have him on our staff.”
Last spring, Toledo finished third in the MAC West Division and qualified for the conference tournament for a school-record fifth-consecutive season.
Individually, junior LHP Ryan Wilkinson received first-team All-MAC recognition, becoming the 35th player in school history to garner postseason laurels on more than one occasion. Wilkinson and senior LHP Kyle Shaw led the team with miniscule 2.82 and 3.12 ERAs, fifth- and eighth-best totals in the league.
UT hurlers tied for first in the conference in complete games (9) and fourth in fewest walks allowed (3.57).
Following the end of the year, Shaw signed with the Lake Erie Crushers as a free agent.
In 2012, Bradford helped Toledo capture its first MAC West Division title in school history. The Rockets’ 19-8 (.704) MAC record equaled their best mark since the conference went to three-game series prior to the 2004 campaign. Overall in 2012, UT sported a 30-27 ledger and secured a spot in the MAC Tournament for a fourth-straight season.
Toledo hurlers posted a 3.92 ERA, third-best mark in the MAC and its lowest total since the 1984 campaign (3.53 ERA). As a staff, UT’s hurlers limited its opponents to a .275 average, giving up 5.0 runs on 9.5 hits with a league-low 3.4 walks and 6.4 strikeouts per game. They recorded a school-record 366 punchouts and yielded two runs or less on 13 occasions.
Individually, senior RHP Matt Kuna and Wilkinson paced the Rockets with miniscule 2.61 and 2.99 ERAs, second- and sixth-best marks in the league, respectively. Kuna also finished fourth in opponent batting average (.225, 67-for-298). In MAC games, senior RHP Lincoln Rassi paced the league in opponent batting average (.170, 17-for-100) and finished tied for first in ERA (1.29).
At season’s end, Hamann was selected in the MLB Amateur Draft for a second time in the last three seasons, while Rassi and Kuna signed as free agents.
In 2011, Toledo tallied a 26-29 overall mark and a 15-12 league ledger, advancing to the MAC Tournament for a third-consecutive season.
UT hurlers sported a 4.04 ERA, fifth-best in the league and its lowest total since the 1984 campaign (3.53 ERA). Individually, sophomore RHP Mike Hamann led the squad with a miniscule 1.96 ERA, second best in the conference. As a staff, UT’s hurlers limited its opponents to a .273 average, yielding 4.8 runs on 9.4 hits with 6.1 strikeouts per contest.
In the bullpen, senior RHP Matt Zahel was named to the watch list for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Award given to the top relief pitcher in NCAA Division I baseball. Zahel was one of 46 players from 22 leagues on the watch list. The 2011 co-captain ranked third in the MAC with a team-high 11 saves, which ranked second-most in a sinigle season in school history.
Individually, UT newcomer Andrew Marra was selected in the MLB Amateur Draft.
In 2010, Toledo experienced one of its best seasons in school history, finishing 34-22 overall and 19-8 in the MAC’s West Division. UT registered its first 30-win season since 1999, and the Midnight Blue & Gold’s 34 wins tied for second most in school history. The Rockets’ MAC ledger was the program’s best conference mark since posting a 23-9 (.719) record in the 1999 campaign, and UT’s league-win total was the second most in school history.
On the mound, the Rockets’ pitching staff posted a 4.63 ERA, second-best mark in the MAC. Individually, junior RHP Matt Suschak ranked fourth in the league with a 3.84 ERA, while sophomore LHP Kyle Shaw and freshman RHP Mike Hamann were fifth and seventh with 3.84 and 4.12 ERAs, respectively. UT’s hurlers also limited their opponents to a league-low .271 average. In addition, Suschak was selected in the MLB Amateur Draft.
In 2009, Toledo tallied a 24-30 overall mark and a 14-12 ledger in the MAC West Division. The Rockets finished a close second to Ball State in the division standings, equalling the sixth-most conference wins in UT annals. The Midnight Blue & Gold played its best baseball at the end of the season and advanced to the finals of the MAC Tournament for the second time in school history (1982).
Individually, sophomore RHP Matt Kuna became the first UT hurler to be selected all-league since 1999. In addition, junior RHP Justin Collop and senior RHP Jeff Cinadr were chosen in the MLB Amateur Draft.
In 2008, the Rockets’ pitching staff posted their second-lowest ERA in the last nine seasons. Bradford also coached senior RHP Chris Fields, who was signed as a free agent by the Reno Silver Sox in the Golden Baseball League.
Bradford was a volunteer assistant coach in his first tour of duty with the Rockets for two seasons before leaving to take an assistant position at Division II member West Georgia in Carrollton, where he spent the 2006 and 2007 campaigns.
Bradford was responsible for all aspects of the Wolves’ pitching staff, as well as recruiting, scheduling, travel arrangements, conditioning and field maintenance, as well as pitch development and mechanics.
In 2007, Bradford helped mentor the Wolves’ RHP Jordan Towns to second-team all-conference honors. At season’s end, Towns made UWG history and became the first West Georgia player to be drafted in the Major League Baseball draft since 1994.
During his first stint at Toledo, Bradford assisted in all aspects of the program, but his main responsibilities was working with the outfielders, directing the UT baseball camps and coordinating team travel. He also served as the first-base coach, bullpen coach and bench coach during games.
Bradford also worked as an assistant coach at Kentucky Wesleyan. During the summer of 2003, he was the pitching coach for the Danville Dans of the Central Illinois Collegiate Wooden Bat League. He helped guide the Dans to a league championship with a league-record 1.78 team ERA.
Previous to that, he spent four seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays organization reaching Triple-A.
A native of Hutchinson, KS, Bradford played his first two collegiate seasons at Hutchinson Community College before transferring to Xavier.
He was a two-year starter for the Musketeers where he was Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Year and first-team All-Atlantic 10 selection in 1996. The Blue Jays drafted him in the 15th round following his senior year.
Bradford finished his bachelor’s degree in physical education at Kentucky Wesleyan in 2002.
He is married to former Toledo women’s basketball assistant coach Tandy Bradford (2003-05). The couple has a son, Blake (10).