Wardle named next men’s basketball coach

Less than one week after cutting ties with Geno Ford, new Bradley Athletic Director Chris Reynolds has hired his replacement.

Late Friday night, the university announced Brian Wardle will join the Braves as the 14th head coach in men’s basketball history.

Wardle spent the last five seasons with the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay (UWGB) Phoenix, winning 95 games in five seasons and making a postseason tournament three times, although he failed to win any of those three games.

Reynolds praised Wardle in a statement released by the university.

“He has a track record of success as a student-athlete, assistant coach and head coach, and both his work ethic and personality are a great fit for Bradley University and the Greater Peoria community,” Reynolds said. “We welcome with open arms Brian, his wife Lecia and his children Mya, Emery and Davin to the Bradley Athletics family.”

Wardle was named the Horizon League Coach of the Year after the 2013-2014 season and that same year was named the Skip Prosser Man of the Year.

A Willowbrook, Illinois native, Wardle played collegiate basketball at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, finishing in the top five in school history in points scored and rebounds.

While with the Golden Eagles, Wardle led the team to a pair of NIT appearances in 1998 and 2000. His senior season, he led Conference USA with an average of 18.8 points per game.

After graduation, Wardle played two years in the NBA Development League and the Continental Basketball Association. He returned to Marquette in 2003 as the Director of Basketball Operations. In 2005, he joined UWGB as an assistant coach and was promoted to head coach April 15, 2010.

Wardle explained his decision to join the Braves in a press release statement.

“It’s an honor to be the next head coach at Bradley,” said Wardle. “Being from Illinois and understanding the program’s success, tradition and support was a real draw for me. I am excited to bring my family to Peoria, getting to know the community and building a foundation and identity for Bradley Basketball to last a long time.”

Wardle will be introduced to the Bradley community at a press conference tomorrow at 5 p.m. The event will be held on the Mitchell “J.J.” Anderson Court in Renaissance Coliseum and is open to the public.

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