Southern Miss

Southern Miss hires one of its own to take over basketball program

Southern Miss has decided to go with a former Golden Eagle as its new men’s basketball coach.

USM has hired Southeastern Louisiana head coach Jay Ladner, the Sun Herald has learned. He replaces Doc Sadler, who stepped down on April 11 after five years on the job.

An introductory conference for Ladner will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday at the Trent Lott Center on the Hattiesburg campus.

Ladner was one of two finalists for the job, joining Texas Tech assistant Mark Adams. USM assistant and Golden Eagle basketball legend Clarence Weatherspoon and former Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy also interviewed for the job on Tuesday in New Orleans.

Ladner is a former USM basketball player who was a member of the 1987 squad that won the NIT championship — arguably the brightest moment in the history of the Golden Eagle program.

In five years at Southeastern Louisiana, Ladner led the Lions to a record of 76-88. SELA won the 2018 regular season championship in the Southland Conference and reached its first NIT with a record of 22-12.

Over the last two years, Southeastern was 27-9 in conference play.

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The longest stint of Ladner’s coaching career came on the Coast, serving as a high school head coach at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis for 20 seasons. During his time with the Rockachaws, Ladner led the program to a record of 511-189 and the 2010 Class 4A state championship.

Ladner grew up in Hattiesburg, playing both basketball and baseball at Oak Grove High School. He served as the head coach at OGHS for one season before taking over as the head coach at Jones County Junior College, where he led the Bobcats to the 2014 junior college national title.

Ladner’s father, J. Larry Ladner, was the head coach at Picayune High School from 1960-71 with a record of 253-82. He left Picayune to join the staff at USM and later retired as a professor there in 1992.

Patrick Magee is a sports writer who has covered South Mississippi for much of the last two decades. From Southern Miss to high schools, he stays on top of it all.