Ladner inducted into MACJC Hall of Fame

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  PRCC President William Lewis (right) presents J. Larry Ladner with his Mississippi Community  and Junior College Sports Hall of Fame award.        Former Pearl River Community College basketball star J. Larry Ladner was inducted into the Mississippi Community and Junior College Sports Hall of Fame during ceremonies on April 28 in Jackson.
          Ladner, a native of Picayune and a resident of Kiln, has been tagged the “Ambassador of Basketball” for the state of Mississippi.
          His dedication to Pearl River Community College spans many decades, beginning from 1955-57 when he played basketball for the Pearl River College Wildcats under coach Jack Gallagher. Also, he participated in football and baseball.
“In my journey of life, professionally and personally, Pearl River Community College was the cornerstone on which I built my future,” said Ladner.
“I shall always feel a deep sense of gratitude to my teammates, classmates, schoolmates, coaches, faculty and administration for their tremendous support that they have displayed throughout my professional career.” 
          Coach Ladner, as he is known in the state, transferred to Louisiana College where he continued to star in basketball for two years. He graduated in 1960 with a degree in health and physical education, and was inducted into the Louisiana College Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
He went on to coach basketball at Picayune Memorial High School from 1960-71 where he had a record of 263-82. A Mississippi Coaches Hall of Fame inductee in 1994, Coach Ladner was twice named South Mississippi’s coach of the Year and was selected to coach in the North-South All-Star basketball game in 1969.
Following his career at Picayune, Coach Ladner moved to the University of Southern Mississippi where he became an assistant professor and basketball specialist in the Department of Coaching and Sports Administration from 1971-91.
During his time at USM, he was named Distinguished Professor of the Year in 1984, and received five Excellence in Teaching Awards. Many of the students he taught over that time went on to become successful coaches in their own right on the junior high, high school, junior college and college levels.
Through it all, Coach Ladner has maintained a strong relationship with Pearl River. He was a charter member of both the school’s Sports Hall of Fame and Development Foundation Board, served as president and vice president of the Alumni Association, selected alumnus of the year and chairman of the school’s Museum Board.
         Coach Ladner and his wife, Peggy (also a PRCC graduate), have four children – Pamela Ann, Kimberly Ann, Jay Larry and Stewart Dean; and four grandchildren.