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Jay Ladner of Southern Miss named Sun Belt Coach of the Year

Jay Ladner
Photo courtesy of Southern Miss Athletics

Southern Miss head basketball coach Jay Ladner has been named the 2023 Joe Gottfried Sun Belt Coach of the Year after a historic season.

Ladner guided Southern Miss to a Sun Belt regular season title with a 14-4 conference record after the team was originally picked to finish No. 13 in the coaches preseason poll. The Golden Eagles improved their win total from a season ago by 18 and are just two victories away from tying the best single-season turnaround in NCAA history.

Southern Miss also finished the season a perfect 15-0 at Reed Green Coliseum, which marks the best home record in program history. The team’s 25 wins are tied for the most in Southern Miss’ Division I era and four shy of tying the most wins in program history.

Ladner is the first coach to earn coach of the year honors since Larry Eustachy did it in 2012.

Junior guard Austin Crowley was named the Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year after finishing the regular season as Southern Miss’ leading scorer. The Ole Miss transfer is averaging 16.2 points per game and is 10 steals away from tying USM’s single-season record (70).

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