Louis Jelsch (in photo at left with Coach Don Ridler) and John Bradley are the new members of the LTU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Louis Jelsch and John Bradley, Jr., became members of the Lawrence Technological University’s Athletic Hall of Fame at the third induction ceremony held at the Ridler Field House on Oct. 11 as part of Homecoming Week.
Jelsch, who earned a mechanical engineering degree from Lawrence Tech in 1944, is perhaps the most versatile athlete in Lawrence Tech’s 81-year-history. He starred in six varsity sports: football, basketball, baseball, track, tennis, and swimming.
Beginning in 1935, he both led and captained most of the university’s teams, earning 22 varsity letters and several “most valuable player” awards. He took all conference first team honors in football in 1937, 1938, and 1939, and led LTU to football conference championships in 1937 and 1938.
After graduating, Jelsch served as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. He worked for General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Rockwell International where his positions included chief engineer of the suspension division, plant manager, chief development engineer, and product manager.
In 1964, Jelsch’s outstanding accomplishments were recognized when he received Lawrence Tech’s highest honor, the Alumni Achievement Award.
Jelsch and the 1938 football team were inaugurated as part of the charter class of LTU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011. During the induction ceremony, his football jersey, #80, was permanently retired and raised to the rafters of the Don Ridler Field House.
Bradley was the first and only LTU player to be named twice to the UPI All-American basketball team – in 1960-61 and 1961-62 – selected by sportswriters throughout the U.S. and Canada.
In 1962 he was called the most prolific scorer in Michigan. He averaged 33 points per game during the 1960-61 season and led the entire nation in scoring right up to the final game of the season when he was nudged out by a percentage point.
Bradley’s 1960-61 LTU team had the highest point average of any small college in the nation. Of the 4,600 basketball players in the NAIA that year, he was the only player to exceed a 30-point average.
Following the 1961-62 season, his senior year, Bradey was drafted in the seventh round by the Detroit Pistons and played in several exhibition games for the NBA team before being assigned to a farm club.
He later embarked on a sales career with Firestone tire and appliances and with the Farmer Jack grocery chain while continuing to play basketball and coach with such organizations as the fabled Brewster Recreation League.
Bradley is one of 14 children and the father of three. He is a graduate of Highland Park High School.
During the induction ceremony, Bradley’s player jersey, #42, was permanently retired and raised to the rafters of Ridler Field House.