Times ClaimCheck

School officials question S'ville council candidate's claim of coaching track, cross country

2011-10-26T00:00:00Z School officials question S'ville council candidate's claim of coaching track, cross countryBy Marisa Kwiatkowski marisa.kwiatkowski@nwi.com, (219) 662-5333 nwitimes.com

SCHERERVILLE | Kevin Bradley has never been a track and cross country coach at two local schools, though he did serve as a volunteer, a Times inquiry found.

The probe was prompted by a complaint to The Times' ClaimCheck initiative, through which reporters seek to verify claims made by candidates running for local public offices.

Bradley, a Republican seeking the 3rd Ward seat on the Schererville Town Council, claimed in a recent campaign flier that he was a track and cross country coach at Grimmer Middle School and Illiana Christian High School.

Grimmer's Athletic Department told The Times there is no one by that name on the school's coaching staff.

Jeff White, boys track coach at Illiana Christian High School, said Bradley never has been employed there as a coach.

"I have coached track for 19 years," White said via email. "I have never had a man named Kevin Bradley as a person on my staff."

Deb Top, Illiana Christian's girls track coach and cross country coach, said she thinks Bradley came to practice a few times to help out the previous boys head coach.

Marty Wondaal, a former Illiana Christian standout runner in the 1980s, said he remembers Bradley volunteering during his sophomore and junior years.

"(Bradley) was very knowledgeable and helped us out a lot with the ins and outs of cross country," Wondaal said.

Bradley told The Times he volunteered at Grimmer and Illiana Christian but never was on staff as a coach at either school.

He said he spent at least three years volunteering with Illiana's team about 15 years ago. Bradley said he can't remember the exact years because it was so long ago.

He said he served as a parent volunteer for Grimmer's cross country team in fall 2009 and with the track team in the spring of 2010 and 2011.

Bradley said he emphasized that experience in his campaign flier because it shows his commitment to the community. He said being a volunteer doesn't mean he isn't also a coach.

"I'm giving back to my community and doing it for nothing other than the joy of helping our young people and making them the best they can be," he said.

Bradley is running against Democratic incumbent Rob Guetzloff on Nov. 8,

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