Paving his own path


Joey Pusateri The DePaulia

Bradley Bruno (center) watches his father’s team play during a home game at McGrath Phillips Arena (Joey Pusateri | The DePaulia).

Being the child of a Hall of Fame coach who has recorded more than 700 wins might sound daunting to some, but that is not the case for Bradley Bruno, the youngest of six sons by DePaul women’s basketball head coach Doug Bruno and his wife Patty.

Serving in his fourth year as the video coordinator for the women’s basketball team, the 28-year-old is one of the youngest people on staff. He has a hefty role with the team, from producing scouting videos and highlight reels for recruits to gathering practice film for his dad to watch on a daily basis. Aside from doing work in video production, Bradley Bruno is also in charge of basketball recruiting mailouts that provide information about the school and creatively reaching recruits on social media platforms.

In addition to assisting the team with the recruiting and video aspects of the sport, Bradley Bruno does a lot of work on the analytical side of things. This entails fine-tuning statistics before games by tracking down the percentage opposing players go off a ball screen, what they do off a ball screen and calculating the percentages that opponents shoot from a particular spot on the court. Not to mention, Bradley Bruno also does smaller stuff too, helping unload the team bus with their equipment and bags. Furthermore, Bradley Bruno is in charge of the managerial staff, keeping them in line and making sure the day-to-day operations get done efficiently.

One of Bradley Bruno’s most valuable contributions is his insight into his dad because he knows him better than anyone on the team. If anything pops up, Bradley is the guy who players can go to for advice or consult with.

“We can sit back in that office and talk about basketball and X’s and O’s for hours,” Bradley Bruno said. “Unfortunately, we don’t get to do that because of the day-to-day stuff that goes on with our team and practices and stuff.”

Growing up in a basketball family, Bradley Bruno first took his passion for basketball to St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in the fall of 2008 where he played on the varsity team as a guard for one season before ultimately transferring to DePaul. While at DePaul, he was a practice player for the women’s basketball team and graduated with a degree in sociology in 2014. After graduating, he took a gap year to enjoy Chicago with friends.

“[St. Mary’s)] was a great school with great people and I had great friends there, but there was just something about Chicago that I missed and it was the closest to my family,” Bradley Bruno said. “Being in a small, rural town like Winona [Minnesota], it just wasn’t the same as the city. I decided to come back home and just enjoy the city and my family.”

Bradley Bruno previously spent time as a practice player for the women’s team — a position that he said a lot of people take for granted— but for him it was to fun play a part in helping the team prepare for the next opponent by playing against them. The rise to becoming the video coordinator, though, was not a process that happened overnight.

Katherine Harry, the previous video coordinator for the team who also played basketball at DePaul for coach Doug Bruno, mentored Bradley Bruno for a few months and taught him the different job functions. Once Harry left, that job vacancy seamlessly fell into Bradley’s hands.

“[Bradley] makes the whole thing fun because he’s not that much different in age with us, so that’s our brother,” senior forward Mart’e Grays said. “That’s how we treat him. Coach Bruno is like our dad, Bradley is like our brother. It’s fun.”

Bruno’s other five sons coach youth basketball, but Bradley Bruno aspires to become a women’s basketball coach in Chicago one day just like his father. Bradley Bruno would like to stick to the women’s side of things primarily due to the fact that women’s basketball is what he has known his entire life.

“Bradley had to come to me and said to me, ‘I want to do this,’” Doug Bruno said. “And I said ‘well, if you wanna do it you’re gonna start at the bottom. You’re not gonna start at the top. You’re gonna have to start at the lowest levels and volunteer.’”

Now that Bradley Bruno has made it to the coaching staff level, he appreciates the work that his dad does even more than he did while growing up. In particular, Bradley admires his father’s grind in an industry that often requires 60 to 80 hour work weeks.

“I just have the utmost respect for him, seeing what he does day-to-day and how hard it is to win one game and how hard it is to get one recruit,” Bradley Bruno said. “Learning from my father, it’s learning from one of the best too. I know it sounds cliché, but he’s a great leader and mentor and I think I’m learning from a great staff. Eventually I’m gonna put all of this knowledge to my own profession.”

Doug Bruno never imagined that any of his sons would be coaching on the same sideline as him.

“I was blessed to play here at DePaul for Ray Meyer,” Doug Bruno said. “I would have nothing without coach Ray Meyer. And I was also blessed to play with Joey Meyer. Joey was my teammate, and then Joey became my coach. I got to see what it was like for a dad to coach his son. I saw what is was like for a dad to work with his son.”

Bradley Bruno gains a lot of basketball insider knowledge from his boss, associate head coach Jill Pizzotti, as well.

“What he’s gonna do with this is really gonna be up to him,” Doug Bruno said. “He’s not gonna be a good coach, an average coach, a great coach, a bad coach because he’s my son. He’s gonna have to carve his own way, and pave his own way and learn.”

A sharp shooter, Bradley Bruno likes to compete against the team on game days in a game called “Racks,” a 3-point version of knockout. It originated when a few DePaul players worked at Dwyane Wade’s basketball camp, where the game was played and brought it back to campus.

“Would I be top 2? I don’t think they even want to challenge me to that because I will get in their head so fast,” Bradley Bruno said with a subtle smile. “I can shoot from the NBA 3-point line.”