Renee Ladner could be considered the rookie collegiate assistant coach on the Lady Gator staff this season, but her coaching experience is undeniable. The 2001-02 season will be her second year on the Florida sideline.
Carol Ross, who was college teammates with Ladner at Ole Miss, placed her former Rebel point guard in charge of coaching the Lady Gator point guards, in addition to serving as Florida's defensive coordinator. She directs all Lady Gator summer camps and coaching clinics, while being responsible for the team's strength and conditioning progress and developing the practice squad.
"Renee's strength as a coach is with her ability to work with people," Ross said. "She is an excellent motivator and inspires people to give their best."
Ladner brought 18 years of basketball experience to Florida. During the 1999-2000 season she coached St. John (Gulfport, Miss.) High School to the Class 2A state championship, collecting the honor of Girls Basketball Coach of the Year from the Mississippi Association of Coaches. At St. John, Ladner also was responsible for the development of the health, physical education and drug education curriculum.
Ladner compiled a 10-year coaching record of 215-99 with the Lady Eagles, including a 181-31 ledger in the last six seasons. St. John won the District 8/2A title each of the last five years, reaching the "Final Four" of the state tournament in three of her last four seasons. She took the Lady Eagles from a 4-20 record her first season, to its 35-3 record last year.
"This is an opportunity of a lifetime," Ladner said. "When Carol initially called me and asked if I would be interested in the job, I couldn't believe it. There was no way my family or I could turn down the opportunity of moving to Gainesville and working with the Lady Gators."
Prior to her tenure at St. John, Ladner was an instructor and coach for three years at Harrison Central High School in Gulfport, Miss., where she taught ninth grade physical education, and coached the girls and boys basketball teams and the track team.
From 1981 to 1987, Ladner was the science and the physical education instructor for North Gulfport's seventh and eighth grades, in addition to coaching the girls basketball team.
She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Health, Physical Education and Recreation in 1981 from the University of Mississippi. At Ole Miss, Ladner played basketball with current Lady Gator coach Carol Ross. She later served as a student assistant for the team, coached by Van Chancellor. Ladner then became a sixth-round draft pick by the Women's Professional Basketball League's St. Louis Streaks.
She attended Harrison Central High School, where she was first coached by Van Chancellor.
The former Susan Renee Rutland from Gulfport, Miss., married Eddie Ladner in 1981. Eddie retired from teaching and as the golf coach at Harrison Central this year. He also coached a state basketball championship team, coaching Harrison Central's boys squad to the 1982 title.
The couple has two daughters, Allison (19) and Jennifer (15). Allison was a 6-foot senior on the 2000 St. John championship-winning team and is attending Santa Fe CC in Gainesville. Jennifer, who also plays basketball, is a 10th grader at P.K. Yonge.
Coach Ladner at a Glance
As a player: A 5-foot-4 guard at Mississippi, 1977-81
Birthdate: May 2nd
Hometown: Gulfport, Miss.
Education: Univ. of Mississippi (B.S. in Health, Physical Education and Recreation, 1981)
- Coached in high school and college by Van Chancellor, now head coach of the WNBA's Houston Comets
- Brought 18 years of coaching experience to UF
- Teammates at Ole Miss with Carol Ross
- 2000 Mississippi Girls Basketball Coach of the Year
- She and her husband Eddie have two daughters, Allison and Jennifer