Ladd tabbed to lead Tigers on hardwood

Mallory Ladd was introduced as the head girls basketball coach for Reitz Memorial High School April 17. The Message photo by John Rohlf

Click here for a video from Ladd's April 17 media availability

By John Rohlf

The Message Assistant Editor

Former Reitz Memorial High School standout basketball player Mallory Ladd will move to the bench to lead a program she helped to a state championship as a player. 

Reitz Memorial High School announced April 17 the hire of Ladd as the school’s head girls basketball coach. A 2011 graduate of Reitz Memorial, Ladd will replace Lee Auker, who stepped down as the school’s head coach at the end of this past season. 

“I am so excited,” Ladd said. “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m excited to get started with the girls. It’s prestigious to even be considered for this position. Coach (Bruce) Dockery and Coach Auker have laid the foundation. And I hope to just make them proud. I know I have a great group of girls and I’m ready to get to work with them.”

Ladd was a member of the Tigers’ 2011 Indiana state championship team under Coach Bruce Dockery. Ladd also brought in several individual awards during her high school career. She was a first team all-state player in 2011, a two-time All-Metro Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year nominee, a member of the 2011 Indiana all-star team and a runner-up of Miss Indiana Basketball. 

“As Director of Athletics, it was obvious to me, in speaking with Mallory Ladd, that she is a leader,” Reitz Memorial Director of Athletics Chad Dockery said in the press release. “The attention to detail and her desire to grow the program comes with a plan. Coach Ladd has a strong vision built on character and player development. I’m excited for our school and our players.” 

After graduating from Reitz Memorial, Ladd played Division I college basketball at the University of Valparaiso and the University of Evansville. She believes her experience competing at the Division I level will be “super beneficial” in her transition to her new role. 

Ladd said she always wanted to be a coach. She is now in a position to do so with a day shift schedule. She also noted the opportunity to coach at a place that was her second home for years. 

Ladd’s previous coaching experience has been more at the middle school level, although she did help out with volleyball previously, she said. 

“I don’t want people to fret over that,” Ladd said. “You have to start somewhere. I think with just the passion and the work ethic and the ability to bring out the best in people, I’ll be alright.” 

Ladd confirmed Coach Bruce Dockery will be coming back to help with the basketball program. Ladd, who said Coach Dockery “is like a second father to me” is thankful Dockery is in a place he can still help out. 

Ladd met with the returning players last week and will focus on building trust with the players. 

“I think that relationships are extremely important for them to buy in to trust me to know you can believe in me,” Ladd said. “I want the best for you. I think that’s extremely important. Meeting them has been great. Like I said, it’s a great group of girls. I just remember being in their shoes. I knew who my coach was going to be so I’m just glad they finally know and are excited I believe…”