The reasons for a football coach to take any head coaching job are many.
Factors can include anything from the opportunity to be a head coach for the first time to wanting to be the person known for “carrying on a winning tradition” or “building the foundation of a winning tradition.” There are aesthetic reasons like the trees on campus to practical reasons such as the institutions academic reputation.
And then there are the reasons that have to do with those in the stands rooting hardest for you, your family.
In the case of Anderson University’s Bobby Ladner, AU’s prestige for academics and its Christian environment were the major factors in his decision to accept the head coaching job last January. Ladner replaces Jeff Judge, who resigned following the 2011 season.
“My wife, Tori, and I desired to be in that setting to raise our family,” Ladner said. “(Our faith) is what we’re all about, that is central in our lives. We’re excited to be here.”
The home of the Ravens wasn’t exactly a deterrent either.
“The facilities are amazing. They’re similar to Division I facilities,” he said. “The administration that we have here on campus supports our athletic programs and they understand the importance of having top-notch faciliites.”
Ladner comes to Anderson after a stint at Concordia University in Selma, Ala., as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He’s also had stops at Belhaven University in Jackson, Miss., and Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill.
The 33-year old native of Mississippi got a chance to see what the Ravens had to offer during spring practice. The NCAA allows 16 practices during spring football and the new coach and his new coaching staff made the most of all of them.
“We were impressed, We have some talent on campus,” Ladner said. “We’re hoping to have from 120 to 130 guys in (summer training) camp.”
Anderson’s summer camp begins when players return to campus on Sunday, Aug. 12. With the Indianapolis Colts having the run of the regular football facilities, the Ravens will be one block over from Macholtz Stadium as the team will be staying at the Fair Commons dorm and practicing on the adjacent field on the corner of Fifth Street and Nursery Road.
The coach feels that the new faces and new places for the Ravens will help generate energy as they head into the 2012 season.
“Any time that there’s change there’s a little bit of excitement because your expectations go up,” Ladner said. “We’ve got some new coaches coming on board, so that brings a different learning aspect to our players. They have to learn our style and what we expect. There’s been a little bit of a transition, I think they’ve done well with it.”
Ladner’s roots are in Southeastern Conference football, a league that is recognized as the top college football conference in the country year after year in the Football Bowl Subdivision. He hopes that he can bring some of the attitude toward the game from the south to Anderson and he knows one way to start that process.
“Football is loved down there. It’s that love of the game we want to bring up here,” Ladner said. “We want to win football games. Our No. 1 goal is to win football games.”
— Quintin Harlan is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Story reposted with permission. Photo Credit: Don Knight/The Herald Bulletin.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.