Former Harrison Central Red Rebels basketball coach Eddie Ladner will be one of 12 inductees into the Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame banquet.
It's been 17 years since Eddie Ladner retired from the coaching ranks, but fans still remember the highly talented teams and players who graduated from Harrison Central High School under his leadership.
The Gulfport Sports Hall of Fame will honor coach Ladner with his induction on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Ladner said, "I'm just humble and thankful for being inducted into the Hall of Fame. It's a great honor. Glad for my players, for my family, friends, my high school teammates, my college teammates."
In the late '70s and '80s Ladner had Harrison Central competing for District and State titles with the likes of Gulfport and Biloxi. In 1981, coach Ladner's Red Rebels lost in the state finals. A year later he guided Harrison Central to the State Championship title highlighted by the play of Kenny Jimmerson, Tony Johnson, Anthony Stewart, and Vernon Brown.
Van Chancellor gave Ladner his first coaching job as an assistant at Harrison Central in 1972. He still remembers the job interview.
"He asked me, he said, 'Do you like basketball?' And I was insulted, "said Ladner . "And I said, 'No sir, I don't like basketball....but I love it'," said Ladner. "I'm the only one that said those words and that's how I got the job."
Ladner credits his success to a number of coaches, beginning with his high school head coach Roland Ladner at Hancock North Central.
"I always wanted to play for coach Roland Ladner and that dream came true," said Ladner. "Coach Chancellor, you know, he was very important. Polished me up..."
Ladner also says his assistant coach at Harrison Central, Larry Fry, was instrumental in helping build the Red Rebels into a basketball power.
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