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Bobby Bowden was impressed most with Brad Gordon’s work ethic
March 12, 2004
By DEREK REDD
Courtesy of: Naples News
Lely senior Brad Gordon would have loved to run on the field just once suited up as a Trojans football player.
But that could never happen.
Injured when he was 3 years old, Gordon has been in a wheelchair ever since. He decided that, if he couldn’t work his tail off on the field, he’d do it on the sidelines. Next season, he’ll get to do it with one of America’s top college football programs.
Gordon, a student coach with the Trojans this past season, will do that same job this fall at Florida State University.
“It’s unbelievable,” Gordon says. “When you think of top football programs and top coaches, you think of Florida State and Coach (Bobby) Bowden.”
Lely activities director Chris Metzger says Gordon was essential to the day-to-day operations of the Trojans football team, doing all the little things necessary to keep things on track.
He kept time during practices, making sure nothing ran late. He input plays into Lely’s computer analyzer and typed up scouting reports.
“He kept all the players and coaches on task,” Metzger says.
“He’s an inspiration because of how committed he is to the program.”
The jobs he performed at Lely pretty much match the jobs he’ll perform with the Seminoles. It’s why he felt so confident when he visited Florida State and talked to the coaches.
“The (Lely) coaches took me up there for two days,” he says. “I got to sit down with (defensive coordinator Mickey) Andrews and we spent an hour talking about football.”
It’s Gordon’s work ethic that impressed coaches the most.
Gordon would stay after football games every Friday until 1 a.m., then come back at 5:30 a.m. and help in meetings until 2 p.m., when he would go to his job at Publix.
The days were long, he says, but it was worth it to be around the sport he loves.
“I’ve never played football in my life, but there’s something about that game that makes me want to be right there with the players,” he says. “Who’s going to prepare better and who’s going to do their homework better, that aspect drives me every week.”
That desire is amplified even more by the fact he can’t play football. At age 3, Gordon fell 40 feet from a third-floor window and fractured his T-4 vertebrae.
He not only serves as a steady force on the team, but reminds both players and coaches to never take their time on the football field for granted.
“I’ve said that to several people,” Gordon says. “If I could play, there would be no way I would ever give up on a play.
You never know when your last play could be.”
Gordon serves as an inspiration to many, a four-year member of the JROTC with a 3.7 grade point average who recently was given Collier County’s Do the Right Thing Award. He wants to continue to inspire. He’d like his student coaching position to turn into a graduate assistant position, then maybe an assistant coach position in college and maybe the pros.
“It’s the closest thing I get to being on the field,” he says. “I’d rather have that than nothing at all.”