Ladner, a Southern Miss biology and pre-med graduate, was making good money selling pharmaceuticals but wanted to do something different. He wanted to coach basketball. Jay’s father, Jay Ladner, was a former high-school coach. He wasn’t too enthusiastic about the idea of coaching. He was aware of the long hours, high pressure to win and low pay – unless one is a big-time coach. Jay’s father called Richard Williams to ask for a favor. He wanted Williams to talk Jay out of the coaching idea. It was agreed to meet. Williams and Ladner spoke. Williams stated Thursday that after listening to Jay for about an hour, he called his daddy back. “I told him, Coach, I have news for you. You’re going to coach basketball, that boy of yours. He won’t be pushed aside. It’s all that’s necessary to it. Williams said, Jay was full of it. Jay Ladner was destined to be a coach. He has won every tournament he has attended. He was also introduced Thursday as the new Southern Miss basketball head coach. Ladner described it as “a dream come to life.” He said that Southern Miss was “a destination job and not a stop” for his. His teams will be “fast but not wild,” he said. He believes that Southern Miss basketball can regain the glory of its past, when he was a reserve on the M.K. Turk was one of the greatest Golden Eagle players. Richard Williams, who is now color commentary for Mississippi State basketball, has closely followed Ladner’s career and believes that Southern Miss has slammed home a double with Ladner. Williams stated that Jay is an exceptional coach and a top-class person. He is a teacher first. He is a coach who coaches his players in the right way. He coaches them well, but it is not personal when he criticizes. He wants them to be better players. Williams said, “I’ll tell ya what I know about it.” Jay was desperate for the job. I know Jay is a great coach and Southern Miss couldn’t have hired someone who would be as passionate about the job as he is. It’s his school, and it’s his dream job. It’s exactly the same as it was for me at Mississippi State. Jay is not going to be outworked in Hattiesburg and he doesn’t want to go anywhere else.” Williams left State in 1999 and moved to Bay Saint Louis. He met Ladner while he was coaching at St. Stanislaus College. It’s actually a high-school in Bay Saint Louis. Williams was invited to practice by Ladner. The short version is that Williams was invited to practice as a volunteer assistant coach. Williams stated, “I cannot tell you how many hours they spent just talking basketball.” “I hope that I helped Jay, but it was good therapy.” Ladner won the state championship at St. Stanislaus. He produced many winners year after year. After that, he moved to Jones Junior College and won the national championship. This was the first Mississippi team to do this. Jones was the lowest seed to win the national title, defeating five of the higher seeds in five days. His last job was at Southeastern Louisiana. He took over a struggling program and grew it from nine to 12, to 16, to 16 and finally to 22 wins. Williams stated that Jay didn’t always have the same talent as his opponents when he played basketball. They were so well-coached that they won many games against better teams. “I know it, I saw it,” Williams was one of the three coaches Ladner mentioned as his greatest influences in Jones’ win of the 2014 national title. Another was Turk, to whom Ladner dedicated the championship. The third was his father who is a member of Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame. J. Larry Ladner, who turned 82 Thursday, called Southern Miss’ hiring of his son the best birthday gift he had ever received. What do you think? What do you think?