Charlie Bradshaw worked as a college football coach for nearly 30 years from 1954-1982, spending most of his career in the SEC at Alabama, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. He played his college football at Kentucky from 1946-1949 and began his coaching career as an assistant with the Wildcats from 1954-1958, including time as an assistant under the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant. He spent three more years as an assistant at Alabama from 1959-1961 before returning to Kentucky as its head coach for seven seasons from 1962-1968.
Bradshaw led Kentucky to just one winning season in his time as head coach, a 6-4 season in 1965. He is perhaps best remembered as the head coach of the “Thin Thirty,” the nickname of his first Kentucky team in 1962. UK began that season with 88 players on its football roster and ended the season with just 30 players after Bradshaw’s intense, Bryant-like coaching whittled the roster down over the course of the year. The team ended the season with a 12-10 win over Tennessee to bring its final record to 3-5-2.
Bradshaw’s 1964 team spent a portion of the season ranked in the top-25 after topping then-No. 1 Ole Miss, UK’s only win over a No. 1 team until it beat No. 1 LSU in 2007. He stepped down from his position at Kentucky after the 1968 season, walking away from the Cats’ program with a final record of 25-41-4. He went on to serve as an assistant coach at Texas A&M and Vanderbilt after leaving Kentucky, and passed away in 1999 at the age of 75.
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