(Editor's note: University of Montana media release)
MISSOULA — Following the departure of veteran coaches Kent Baer and Barry Sacks, Montana head football coach Bobby Hauck has announced changes to the Grizzlies' defensive staff.
Ronnie Bradford, UM's cornerbacks coach for the past two seasons, has been promoted to defensive coordinator and safeties coach. Roger Cooper will now lead Montana's corps of linebackers, and defensive analyst Kim McCloud will now coach the Grizzly cornerbacks.
Bradford, who came to Montana in the spring of 2021 after three seasons as the safeties coach at USC, will now take the lead on a Grizzly defense that has been one of the best in FCS football in recent years.
👀 Griz announce changes to defensive coaching staff
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"Coach Bradford will be our defensive coordinator, and he'll call it on Saturdays. He's coached a lot of football, has great experience, and really understands the game," said Hauck in a media release. "I'm excited for him to bring the things he's done in the past and put a new look to our defense and how we're calling it on that side of the ball."
With Bradford's assistance, Montana ranked first in interceptions in all of NCAA football in 2021 with a team total of 18. He mentored cornerback Justin Ford, whose nine picks that season led college football and earned him unanimous All-American honors.
Before his time at UM, he served as the secondary coach at USC from 2016-18. Before his time in Los Angeles, he served as the special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach at Louisiana Tech from 2013-15. His college resume also includes a stop in Memphis, where he coached the Tigers' safeties, and Cal, where he was a defensive assistant.
Before coaching in college, Bradford spent seven seasons coaching in the NFL with the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. With the Broncos, he coached special teams from 2003 through 2006 and the defensive backs in 2007 and 2008.
As a defensive back in college, Bradford helped Colorado to a share of the 1990 national championship, blocking an extra point in the Buffaloes' 10-9 win over Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl that would be the difference in the game.
Cooper enters his second season coaching the Griz in 2023 after 10 years at Idaho State, where he most recently served as the Bengals' associate head coach, defensive coordinator, and linebackers coach. Cooper coached UM's safeties in 2022.
As a player, Cooper was a linebacker at Montana State who earned first-team All-Big Sky honors in three-straight seasons (2002-2004) and was named the Big Sky defensive MVP in 2004. He was also a second-team All-American and a starter on an MSU defense that helped snap Montana's 16-game win streak in 2002.
He then spent three seasons in the NFL and NFL Europe from 2005-2007, with stints in Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego, and Frankfurt, Germany, before suffering a career-ending injury.
McCloud served as a defensive analyst for the Grizzlies in 2022 after joining the program out of Hawaii in August. He now takes the field to coach Montana's cornerbacks, the same position he coached for the Rainbow Warriors in 2021.
His resume lists nearly three decades of experience with 10 different programs, including serving as the assistant head coach at Syracuse from 2016-18, with previous stops at Idaho, Nevada, and Baylor, among others.
Prior to his time at Hawaii, he was the receivers coach and cornerbacks coach at Syracuse from 2016-19. He also served as the defensive coordinator, receivers coach, and assistant head coach at Bowling Green at different times in 2014 and 2015. He was the defensive coordinator at Eastern Illinois from 2012-13 and was the secondary coach at Baylor and Akron between 2008 and 2011.
Montana will look to add a line coach and analyst to the defensive coaching staff in the near future.