At the recent South Mississippi All-Star Basketball Showcase at St. Martin High School, Jackie Laird along with former Picayune head coach Dean Shaw, served as honorary coaches.
Since Laird retired 20 years ago, has the high school game changed?
"It hasn't changed a lot. Biloxi High still plays a lot of our stuff that we had when I was there and St. Martin plays a lot of our stuff and Gulfport. So a lot of it is still the same,"stated Laird.
Laird guided the Biloxi Indians to five division championships and back-to-back 5A State Championship titles in 1989 and 1990.
After winning his first state championship, Laird talked about a possible repeat in this March 1989 interview.
"We think we're going to have a real fine club next year but I don't want to put a lot of pressure on them to start with. My goodness they went through enough this year," said Laird. He added,"We have a real pressure packed season with everybody expecting us to win, but I imagine when the polls come out next year we'll be number one ranked at the start of the year."
Laird and his Indians would indeed win back-to-back 5A State titles.
When Laird was calling the shots at Biloxi High School, other outstanding coaches were also highly successful.
"We had some of the best in the state at that particular time,"stated Laird. "Bert Jenkins was probably the best one of the coast. He was like the Bear Bryant of basketball and we had some other good ones... Cuccaro, Eddie Ladner. Roland Ladner was a great coach. We had some good ones."
Does Laird miss coaching high school basketball?
"Yes, I've always missed those days, but I'm too old to try to coach again," stated Laird.
The coast continues to do well. Coach Owen Miller, who played for the legendary Bert Jenkins at Gulfport High, guided the Admirals to the 2014 Class 6A State Championship.
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