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‘Raddy’ hangs up ‘good cop’ style after 13 years

The one they call “Raddy,” half of Bearden High School Soccer's ultra successful “good cop-bad cop” coaching staff, has gone from the sideline to a high perch above Bruce Allender Field to witness BHS home games.

Linda Radcliffe, the friend and crying shoulder when head coach Eric Turner's directives sometimes were too coarse to swallow, retired as Lady SoccerDawgs and BHS boys assistant after 13 years featuring five Class AAA state titles and one national crown.

Senior forward Caroline Gianeselli said Radcliffe “was definitely one of my best friends, not only just as an assistant coach. She definitely helped us out when we were down, she'd always pick us up. And she'd always tell the funniest stories, and we'd all get ready for the game that way.”

“[Coach] Turner and her were complete opposites, but it was a perfect mix together,” she added.

Senior defender Kimble Glover said of Radcliffe, an ecology teacher at BHS for 23 years, “Raddy has inspired all of us, she's made us all such better people. She had so many great stories before each game, and she really lifted the team up in a positive way; she was never yelling.”

Coach Turner said Radcliffe “was a great balance, we had a great working relationship, my intensity level and her easiness. She was internally an intense person, wanting to win games and all that, but she was kinda able to soften everything. Good for our kids.

Radcliffe said she already “misses the kids terribly, it was really difficult ... and those very strong relationships. The parents and the players were a huge part of my life. I really felt there was a ministry there with those kids.

“But I don't miss the schedule, the schedule was pretty grueling.”

Having sons Derick and Ryan Radcliffe on the BHS sidelines from 2000 through 2007 — both sons, midfielders, receiving All-state honors helping produce three state titles and a national title — “was the most special time of my life,” Linda said. “It was blessing upon blessing.”

“We were able to have those special experiences in sports with friends and kids at Bearden High School that wouldn't have happened any other way,” she added. “Not many mothers, and certainly not many coaches, have the opportunity to do that.”

“There were players on the team that didn't know we were related. And that's the way we intended it to be.”

Ryan, an All-conference senior midfielder at Maryville College (BHS Class of 2007), said Linda “and my dad [Rick], too, both of them know the game. When I have a rough game, they both know how to console me.”

Derick (Class of 2003), three-time All-state Bulldog who went on to start four years at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, said his mother could be demanding of him and Ryan. “At the time we definitely got into it a couple of times, and had our go at each other,” Derick added. “Looking back on it, I’m glad she did it. To go back and do it again, I wouldn’t change it.”

Linda credited valuable support from Rick, labeling his tireless volunteer maintenance work with the program “as one of the pillars of the soccer program.”

Radcliffe labeled her coaching stint “not a job, but just an incredible opportunity.”


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