by Hunter Dawkins

From the beginning of his legendary prep coaching career at Brother Peter Memorial Gymnasium of St. Stanislaus College Prep in 1992 to the Finals of the Division I – Southland Conference Tournament in Katy, Texas last year, Coach Jay Larry Ladner has built successful programs.  The University of Southern Mississippi noticed the achievements along with outreach from many former alumni and hired Ladner to lead the Golden Eagles basketball team.

Coach Ladner is an alumnus of the university along with being a former member of the 1987 National Invitational Tournament (NIT) Champion Team coached by M.K. Turk.  Twelve members of this team, managers and former coaches issued a letter to USM’s athletics department with Ladner’s resume, accomplishments as a player/coach, and the ability to graduate his collegiate players.

After graduating from USM in 1988, Ladner coached St. Stanislaus College Prep in Bay St. Louis for 20 years, earning 10 state tournament births and one MHSAA 4A State Championship.  Following the end of his prep coaching career, he guided Jones County Community College to its first ever victory of the NJCAA Basketball Championship in 2014.

Finally, Ladner was hired by Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond to rebuild the program and after 5 years, he succeeded by having back-to-back winning seasons, earning the most wins in school history last year, and first NIT birth in school history.

Coach Ladner comes from a line of successful basketball coaches, as his father J. Larry was a decade-long coach Picayune High School and former uncle Roland being a longtime coach at Hancock North Central.  Ladner’s father has been inducted to the Mississippi Hall of Fame for coaching and teaching as a professor at USM.

This was the first big hire for Southern Miss Athletic Director Jeremy McClain, as the Golden Eagles filled the vacancy left by former basketball coach ‘Doc’ Sadler.

Hearing all the social media applause for the hiring assures one thing about Southern Miss Basketball this year, the new LadPad will be filled with energy.