Longtime Albany State Sports Information Director Edythe Bradley, who became the school’s first female SID in 1997, became the face of the Golden Rams’ athletic department as essentially a one-woman show. Bradley was known to work up to 80 hours a week during the busy seasons, commuting to Albany each day from her hometown of Camilla. Bradley, 46, died over the weekend of a brain hemorrhage as the result of an aneurysm. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — The beloved and longtime Sports Information Director at Albany State, Edythe Bradley, died Saturday night. She was 46.
Family and friends confirmed Sunday that the Camilla native died in Archbold Memorial Hospital in Thomasville from a brain hemorrhage as the result of a brain aneurysm.
“It’s a huge loss for our university,” ASU athletic director Richard Williams said. “She really meant the world. She is the reason behind the success of Ram Nation. She was more than a sports information director. She was the writings behind everything Albany State athletics.”
Condolences began pouring in from the ASU community late Saturday, flooding social media sites with prayers, shock and sadness.
@ASURAMSHOOPS, the official Twitter feed of Albany State’s men’s and women’s basketball program, tweeted around 3 a.m., “R.I.P to Ms. Edythe Bradley, our beloved ASU Sports Information Director.”
Bradley, a Camilla native, began working in ASU’s public relations department in 1993 and then became the school’s first female SID in 1997. The Florida A&M grad was a one-woman show for the most part at Albany State, where she became the face of Rams athletics.
And it was a face that was always smiling.
“Ms. Bradley was always laughing. Always smiling,” Williams said. “I’m going to miss her smile. Five years ago (when I came to ASU as chair of the HPER Department) her smile was the first thing I noticed. She said, ‘Hey, my name is Edythe Bradley. But people just call me Ms. B or Smiling Edythe.’ People also knew her as ‘Sunshine.’ She was a beautiful person inside and out.”
ASU football coach Mike White, who has been at Albany State for nearly three decades, said the loss was tough to take.
“It’s hard to put into words how much she meant to so many people,” White said. “She was the kind of person that would stop to help anybody at anytime. Whatever she was doing, she would stop and help. She was very, very kind-hearted.”
ASU baseball coach Kenyan Conner said Bradley became a family friend to both him and his wife, LaTonya Conner, who is the Faculty Athletic Representative at Albany State and also assisted Bradley in various roles.
“She was a good person and had good morals. You always knew that there was a good person in the room when she was around,” Kenyan Conner said of Bradley. “There was shock and a lot of questions when we found out about her passing. But at the same time, the people who know her are strong people. We will pull together.”
Robert Skinner, who coaches women’s basketball, softball and volleyball at ASU, knew her for years.
“It’s been tough,” Skinner said Sunday. “It’s like losing a family member. I am trying to cope without getting too emotional. But it’s really hard. I am a cheerful person by nature. Usually big wins make my eyes water. I can deal with a bad loss and not shed any tears. But when you lose somebody you really care for and really love, its extremely hard.”
Bradley, who was in her 16th season as ASU’s SID, became just the second female SID in Albany State’s conference. She was a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America and the Black College Sports Information Director’s Association and was the SID chairman for ASU’s conference.
“People referred to her as, ‘The Mother of SIDs,’ ” Williams said.
But to so many associated with ASU athletics, Bradley was much more than just an SID.
“People that know her, know that she did things way outside of that job,” White said. “She would do anything for everybody. She helped me with my resumé. She helped me get information for camps and recruiting. She was dependable. You could call her anytime and ask for anything.”
Williams remembers the last communication he had with Bradley.
“She texted me Thanksgiving Day and told me to have a happy Thanksgiving and not to eat too much turkey,” Williams said. “She put a smile at the end of the text message and said, ‘I’ll see you soon.’ That may have been her last way of letting us know that everything will be OK.”
Bradley’s role as SID was very loosely defined in that she constantly went above and beyond her typical job duties of facilitating information about ASU’s various sports programs and was known to work as many as 80 hours a week during the busy season.
Bradley admitted in a 2009 profile The Herald wrote about her that she wasn’t really a “sports person” when she took on the job in 1997, but she quickly learned.
“I have a deep appreciation for sports and athletics now,” Bradley said in the story. “(But) I never really was a sports person.
“I was, at first, (trying) to understand what it was all about. I would copy what other SIDs were doing, and I also learned when you flatter someone to death they will show you what to do. I think I did have an advantage because I’m female. It was like, sometimes, ‘OK, she’s a woman, let me help her out.’ It worked a lot.”
Bradley was the media contact for ASU’s 11 NCAA Division II sports programs, a job that Williams said, “might have to be replaced by five or six individuals.”
Three-sport coach Skinner knows all about a tiring workload, but he said his was nothing compared to Bradley’s.
“She probably did about twice the work I have to do,” Skinner said. “Everybody knew who had the most work to do. I know I had a full plate, but her’s was running over. I admire what Edythe did. We knew she was overworked, understaffed and underpaid, but she did a whole lot with a very little. You have to respect that.”
Herald sports editor Danny Aller, who first met Bradley when he moved to the Good Life City in 2007 to take over sports operations at the newspaper, said he knows he speaks for every reporter or editor — past and present — who worked with Bradley when he says she was one of a kind.
“She was an incredible person, and I know everyone who worked with her felt the same way. I don’t know what was more infectious: her smile, her work ethic or her love for everything-Albany State,” Aller said Sunday upon learning of Bradley’s death. “From everyone at The Albany Herald, we want to express our condolences to her family, friends and the countless members of Golden Ram Nation whose lives she touched.
“Ms. Bradley and her loved ones will be in our prayers.”
Bradley graduated from Mitchell-Baker High School in 1983 and from Florida A&M in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/public relations. During her college career, she worked with The FAMUAN student newspaper and was a member of the Society of Professional Journalist/Sigma Delta Chi and the Public Relations Student Society of America.
She was a member of St. Peter A.M.E. Church in Camilla and is survived by her daughter Morgan Chelsea Dunlap, who is a sophomore pre-nursing student at Albany State.
The school is currently planning a memorial service in honor of Bradley, and Skinner said Sunday he knows the campus won’t be the same without her.
“We at Albany State are very prayerful that her family can see their way through this,” Skinner said. “We can only imagine what they are dealing with at this particular time. Her daughter and family, we have to keep them in our prayers. But the one thing we do know is that God doesn’t make any mistakes. He sees the bigger picture.
“And you can’t be in a better place than where she is right now in God’s hands.”
Herald sports editor Danny Aller and the Albany State Sports Information office contributed to this report.