The head coach of Bradley’s basketball team, Jim Les has established himself as a prominent fixture in Peoria. Born in Niles, Illinois, Les was no stranger to Peoria in his younger years—he was a ball boy from 1972 to 1975 when his older brother Tom played for the Braves. Recalling that “it was my dream to play basketball for Bradley,” Les made it happen, following in his brother’s footsteps and starring as Bradley’s point guard from 1983 to 1986.

After his college career, Les went on to play in the NBA for the Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks for seven seasons. After serving as an assistant coach for the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs, he returned to his alma mater in 2002, becoming Bradley’s 12th men’s basketball coach. His record at Bradley has been exceptional, including leading the Braves to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

Les lives in Peoria with wife, Jodi, and their three children: Tyler, Amber and Hannah.

1 My most humbling moment: Getting “cut” the first time in the NBA by the Atlanta Hawks.

2 My secret ambition is to… own my own plane.

3 My proudest moment/achievement: Watching my children grow and flourish.

4 My greatest fear… heights of any kind.

5 Famous person, dead or alive, I’d like to meet: Jesus Christ.

6 Talent that I would most like to have: To play the guitar and sing.

7 My most treasured possession: My family.

8 The lowest depth of misery is to… not succeed because you haven’t worked as hard as you could have.

9 The biggest hurdle I’ve overcome is… a lot of people saying “I can’t.”

10 The most difficult decision that I’ve had to make is… leaving California to move to Peoria.

“I love the atmosphere that surrounds a college campus and having an impact on young people’s lives. I love the special relationship that Bradley basketball shares with this community.” -Jim Les