Marlin, Ladner named Hugh Durham Award finalists

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Jay Ladner and Bob Marlin


NEW ORLEANS – Two Sun Belt Conference men’s basketball head coaches have been named finalists for the Hugh Durham Award, which is presented annually to the top NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Mid-Major head coach.

Southern Miss’ Jay Ladner and Louisiana’s Bob Marlin are two of 20 finalists for the prestigious honor.

Ladner has led one of the most impressive turnarounds in college basketball history, mentoring Southern Miss to a 25-7 record and the 2023 Sun Belt Conference regular-season title. Under Ladner’s leadership, the Golden Eagles have improved their win total by 18 games from a season ago. Southern Miss, if not selected for the NCAA Tournament, has earned the conference’s automatic bid to the National Invitation Tournament. Ladner was the 2023 Sun Belt Coach of the Year.

Marlin directed his team to the 2023 Hercules Tires Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship with a 26-7 overall record. Since the start of the 2023 calendar year, Marlin’s Ragin’ Cajuns have won 16 of their 19 games. Louisiana has earned the Sun Belt Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Both Ladner and Marlin have led their teams to perfect records on their home court this season.

The Hugh Durham Award, which is presented annually to the top Division I mid-major coach in college basketball, is named after a coach who built winning programs at three different universities.

In eight seasons as the head coach at Jacksonville University, Durham became the Dolphins’ all-time winningest Division I coach (106 wins), making him the only coach in NCAA history to be the winningest coach (pct. or wins) at three different Division I schools.

The recipient of the 2023 award will be announced in March, in Houston site of the men’s NCAA Basketball Championship.

Amir Abdur-Rahim, Kennesaw State
Kenneth Blakeney, Howard
Jerrod Calhoun, Youngstown State
Speedy Claxton, Hofstra
Darian DeVries, Drake
Pat Duquette, UMass Lowell
Corey Gipson, Northwestern State
Jason Hooten, Sam Houston
Donte’ Jackson, Grambling
James Jones, Yale
Tod Kowalczyk, Toledo
Pat Kelsey, Charleston
Jay Ladner, Southern Miss
Mark Madsen, Utah Valley
Mike Magpayo, UC Riverside
Bob Marlin, Louisiana
Paul Mills, Oral Roberts
Mike Morrell, UNC Asheville
Rick Pitino, Iona
Bob Richey, Furman

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About the Sun Belt Conference

The Sun Belt Conference is made up of 14 members: App State, Arkansas State, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, James Madison, Louisiana, ULM, Marshall, Old Dominion, South Alabama, Southern Miss, Texas State and Troy.

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