Ladell Anderson passed away today

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Ladell Anderson passed away today

Post by rAggie » December 29th, 2019, 8:12 pm

Another great Aggie is lost. Just saw Al Lewis post on FB. Ladell Anderson died today, he was 89.

May he Rest In Peace

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Re: Ladell Anderson passed away today

Post by Donman » December 29th, 2019, 8:14 pm

RIP

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Re: Ladell Anderson passed away today

Post by bluegrouse » December 29th, 2019, 8:51 pm

Rest In Peace, Coach Andersen. Aggie Legend.

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Re: Ladell Anderson passed away today

Post by USU78 » December 29th, 2019, 9:03 pm

My youth just keeps getting shredded.
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You keep using that word. I do not think that word means what you think it means.

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Re: Ladell Anderson passed away today

Post by NVAggie » December 29th, 2019, 10:39 pm

RIP Coach



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Re: Ladell Anderson passed away today

Post by Bill_George » December 31st, 2019, 12:12 am

True Aggie Legend...

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LaDell Anderson shared with me some great stories!

Post by AggiesForever » December 31st, 2019, 6:11 pm

I'm going to run all these "LaDell" stories past you again because they are so good. Very few of you will remember this, but Bob Wilson and I visited with LaDell on March 12, 2013. He was 83 then and when we first got there, I wasn't sure we were going to get anything out of him. He was having a heckuva time even remembering who we were. But as is often the case with older folks suffering from old-age memory loss, their short term memory is not great, but you take them back 20-30 years and they can tell you everything with acute detail.

After we got him rolling, these were the stories I transcribed at that time. I posted them here, but now I'll post them again!

1. "You Have to get rid of Darnell Haney!" He told us that when he first arrived at USU from the University of Utah, where he had been an assistant to the great Jack Gardner, he was told by AD Hy Hunsaker that he had to get rid of Darnell Haney. Haney had sex with a girl in North Logan and fathered a child with her. Hunsaker said, "You've got to get rid of him. He's causing all sorts of trouble out there and with the feelings locally, we've just got to get this taken care of." Cache Valley was really bigoted back in those days. It wasn't intentional. People just didn't have any experience with african americans and were mostly afraid of what they didn't understand. LaDell said he told Hunsaker, "Why do I need to get rid of him. He's 6-9 and he's a helluva center. Has he broken any school rules? Has he broken any laws? Before I get rid of Darnell Haney, you'll have to get rid of me FIRST!" LaDell said he called Darnell in, and Darnell told him some of the things he'd been up to and said, "You're probably going to have to send me packing, coach." LaDell said, "I told him, 'Darnell, I want you on this team and they will have to get rid of me before I will get rid of you." Of course, Haney stayed and married the gal he'd been fooling around with. Darnell had a good career at USU, got his degree and stayed in Utah, living in Ogden and working as a Youth Counselor in a variety of state programs through the years. I have met him on several occasions and talked about some of his work.

2. "Coach, I want to play Basketball:" The recruiting of Wayne Estes. This Hy Hunsaker sounds like the biggest tight wad of all time. When LaDell came to USU he said Cec Baker had kind of let the program go to heck his last year, and we needed some players badly. He had Cornell Green and some other guys, but he needed more, so he told Hunsaker he needed to go recruiting. He decided to recruit Montana because he felt there was the opportunity there to pick up some good yet unrecruited players. So he told Hunsaker what he wanted to do, and Hunsaker told him he didn't have any money for him to go recruiting. LaDell said he had to, and after some convincing, Hunsaker handed him a credit card and said, "You can use this to buy gas, but you're going to have to sleep in the car." In Montana. In the winter. "And you're going to have to recruit for all of the programs, too, not just basketball." LaDell said fine.

Well, he and Nog Hansen took off. They found a wrestler in Missoula for the wrestling team who was tearing things up. And they heard about a basketball player in Billings they wanted to go see. But on their way east they went through Anaconda to check on a track and field guy by the name of Wayne Estes, who had set a Montana record in the shot put and discuss, and was the center on the Montana all-State H.S. Football team. When they got to Anaconda they met Wayne at his house, which LaDell said was not much bigger than the entire living room we were sitting in at LaDell's house. They talked about why they were there and that they wanted to recruit him for Track and field and possibly football. LaDell said, "He looked in my eyes and he said, 'Coach, it's true I've done all those things. BUT I WANT TO PLAY BASKETBALL." LaDell said, "when he looked in my eyes like that, I felt chills go down my back and I knew that's what we were going to do. When a guy says something to you in that way, and looks at you like that when he says it, you know that is how it's going to be." Well, as we all know, it turned out pretty well. He said Wayne Estes was the finest variety shooter he ever saw. He said he was great under the hoop, but he wanted to give him a shot that he could shoot outside that would be unstoppable. So LaDell taught him the baseline hook shot, and Estes was virtually unstoppable with it. He recounted a game against BYU where Estes his hook shot after hook shot after hook shot and almost single handedly won the game for USU.

3. "Give Williams the damn ball and get the hell out of his way!" LaDell said Nate Williams was the most physically gifted played HE EVER coached. He said one night during Williams sophmore season, the Aggies were playing the U in SLC and almost immediately got down by 17 points. "It was shaping up as one of those games you have where you just know you're going to get beat by 40 and there's nothing you can do about it. You have those kinds of games once in a while during your coaching career." He said about midway through the first half with the Aggies trailing badly, Williams came off the floor for a time out just after hitting a big shot, and walked right up to LaDell. By the look on his face, LaDell said he could tell Williams was "extremely motivated about something." Williams said, "Coach, give me the ball on every play. I'm going to do something about this." LaDell said when you see a player with that kind of determination, there is only one thing to do. "I walked into the huddle and I got all the players around me and said, "Give Williams the damn ball and get the hell out of his way. So that's what we did. We just fed Nate Williams the ball and he did the rest. We had reduced the lead significiantly by half, and in the second half we did that again and we ended up winning by about 17 or something like that."

As you listen to him talk about his players, its obvious that the 1969-70 Aggies were his favorite team. "We had Jeff Tebbs and Paul Jepesen at guard, Tim Tollestrip at center, and Nate Williams and Marv Roberts at forwards. That was a really great group." He said if Nate Williams had not twisted his ankle in the shoot around before the West Region finals in Seattle, "I know we would have beat UCLA that day and won the whole thing. That was how good that team was. How often as a coach do you get a team like that? Once or twice in a career?"

4. "Title IX forced me to leave USU." When LaDell left USU as AD and went to BYU to coach, he said a lot of old time Aggies really got upset with him, but he didn't feel like he had a choice. Title IX had become a big deal and USU barely had enough money to field competitive football and basketball teams. Now, Stan Cazier comes to him and says, "You have to get all these other teams compliant with Title IX, and you're gonna have to do it with the same amount of money you have now." LaDell couldn't believe it. "I said, we're barely competitive with football and basketball, and without those two, we've got nothing. And you want me to field women's softball, basketball, gymnastic, volleyball and the rest, too? Cazier said, 'Yes I do, and you'll have to do it with the money you have.' I told him, 'I don't have to, you do,' and I called BYU and told them I would take their head coaching job. They had been after me for quite a while to take their program, and so I did. I know there were a lot of Aggies who were mad at me, but they just didn't understand the position I had been put in."

5. The Recuiting of Shaler Halimon. LaDell had heard about a guard-forward playing at a junior college in Palm Springs, California named Shaler Halimon, so he decided to go see him play. In the meantime, he had been getting calls from a high school basketball coach in Palm Springs, named Dale Brown. "Now Dale Brown was from Minot, North Dakota, and he was coaching down in Palm Springs. So I decided that I would give him a call when I got down there. So I pull in to a gas station to get some gas, and I call his number and say, 'Hello, this is LaDell Andersen.' Dale says 'Where are you?' and I said I'm here in Palm Springs at a gas station. I thought I would like to meet you.' Dale says, 'Don't move-- I'll be right there.' So I get my gas, buy a soda, go to the bathroom, and in about ten minutes Dale's car comes skidding into the gas station. He jumps out, shakes my hand and says, 'Hello LaDell. I'm Dale Brown.' Just like that. So I tell him I'm going to see Shaler Halimon, who was from Romulus, Michigan, you know, and Dale says, 'I'll drive you there. I know right where it is.' I don't know how he got off from school that day, but we jump in his car and take off and go over and see Shaler play. And he recruited Shaler Halimon to USU for me, and he didn't even work for me yet. But he convinced Shaler that he should come to USU and play and he did. He turned out to be a pretty good player for us." I'll say. And Dale Brown turned out to be a pretty good collegiate coach!

6. How LaDell got hired at Utah as an assistant in the first place. After LaDell's senior season at USU, he went over to Denver to work. While he was over there he met another guy (Ernie somebody, I can't remember his name) and he had played basketball for Jack Gardner at Kansas State. They started working together, and this other guy and LaDell decided they would work their regular jobs during the day, and play in the National Industrial Basketball League at night. They were both going to play for a team in Denver. While they were working, this other guy gets an opportunity to go to SLC and interview with Jack Gardner, who had been hired from Kansas State, to be an assistant coach. LaDell says to him, "If you decide you don't want the job, put in a good word for me." Well this other guy goes over to SLC, interviews with Gardner, and decides he doesn't want the job. He calls LaDell up on the phone and said, "I don't want this job, but I put in a good word for you and Gardner wants to talk to you." So LaDell went over to SLC, met Jack Gardner, and was hired as an assistant. "I got a job as an assistant, just like that." Things were a lot different back then.

7. "Coach, I've got this all figured out." Cornell Green becomes a Dallas Cowboy. When Cornell Green was a senior, the Dallas Cowboys offered him a big signing bonus to come play for them. Cornell had also be contacted by the Denver Zephyrs of the ABA and told they were going to draft him with their first pick. "Cornell comes into my office and says, 'Coach, I've got this all figured out. I'll go play for the Dallas Cowboys and get that bonus money. They will cut me after the first week, and then the Zephyrs will draft me and I'll play basketball.' Well we all know how that turned out. Cornell went on to be an all-pro Safety with the Cowboys for about the next ten years. I think that worked out pretty good for him."

8. USU needed an Athletic Director and they hired me! LaDell seemed a little incredulous when he told us the story of becoming the athletic director. He said after Buss Williams retired (or got fired, I can't remember which one), he just thought he's put his name in to see what would happen. His coaching gig with the Utah Stars was over, as they ABA had just folded and merged with the NBA. "I just thought I would put my name in and see what happened. The next thing I know, they're giving me the job. I couldn't believe it. Well I get there, and the finances are a mess. So I decide that the best thing to do is go out and meet people and start laying the groundwork to raise some money. Well, one day the President calls over, I think it was Cazier, and he wants to know why I'm never in my office. I told him I was out meeting people and raising money-- that was the biggest job I had. Cazier says he wants me to be in the office more. I told him, 'Well, I can sit in this office and shuffle papers around, or I can be out meeting people and raising money. Which do you think is the most important?' He told me I should be doing both. I wondered about him sometimes."

9. "Bud Jack had to be the stupidest athletic director Utah ever had." LaDell lamented the fact that USU never got in the WAC with Utah and BYU. "I don't know why they fought us so hard on this but its obvious they didn't want us in when the WAC was formed. But it would have been so good for everybody. Just look at all the natural rivalries we had with Utah, with BYU, with Wyoming and Colorado State. Everybody would have made so much money from all those games. If you ask me, Bud Jack could've done something about it. He could've done something and he didn't do a darn thing. I think Utah ended up leaving a lot of money on the table. Bud Jack has to be the stupidest athletic director Utah ever had."

10. "I have this coach calling me to tell me there was a player I really needed to see." In March of 1967, the Aggies played in the N.I.T. because forward Jimmy Smith, a mid-season transfer to independent USU, was not eligible to play under the NCAA rules of the time in the post season. So, instead of going to the NCAA tournament, which they were invited to, the Aggies went to the NIT instead. The NIT was still a pretty big deal because there were only 32 teams invited to the NCAA, all conference champions and some independent at large teams. A conference could only get one representative in the tournament, so everybody else had to go to the NIT, instead. So the Aggies were back in New York, getting ready to play Rutgers in the first round. This was the team that started Les Powell, Hal Hale, Shaler Halimon, Jim Smith and Alan Parrish, backed up primarily by Fred "Lucky" Smith, Dennis O'Brien, Paul Hoffman, Larry Bunce, and Pete Ennenga. As they're at the hotel waiting to go to a shoot around, "I get this call. The fellow says, 'Is this LaDell Andersen, coach of Utah State?' I told him yes and he proceeded to tell me about this player in Brooklyn who is really good but hasn't been recruited by anybody. He's asking me, no, pleading with me to come recruit him. I'm thinking, 'I have no idea who this guy is, but I have this coach calling me to tell me there was a player I really needed to see.' So Dale Brown and I decide to go see him and after we do, we offer him a scholarship right on the spot. Do you know who that was? It was Marvin Roberts. And as you know, Marvin was an excellent rebounder and shooter, and a really good passer. We got him out to USU and he was great, and has gone on to have a really wonderful life, living down in the Atlanta area I believe."

11. There are a few players he really loved. When LaDell talks about his players, there are a few he really loved. He called Nate Williams the greatest player he ever coached several times. This was after coaching the Aggies, the Stars and at BYU. He talked at length about Wayne Estes, "the best shooter I ever saw." He said Cornell Green "was unstoppable anywhere inside of five feet from the basket, which is interesting because he was only 6-4." His eyes really lit up when he mentioned Troy Collier, a 6-9 center from Phoenix who could really score the ball and rebound (and who has the second highest scoring average after Shaler Halimon of any Aggie who played at least two years). He spoke of "little" LeRoy Walker, a 6-0 forward/guard who could shoot and jump right out of the gym. I think if LaDell had to name his best players, he would put Nate Williams and Shaler Hallimon at guard, Marv Roberts and Wayne Estes at forwards and Troy Collier at Center, backed up by Cornell Green (who only played for him one year), Phil Johnson (the same), LeRoy Walker and Hal Hale. Those were the players he mentioned over and over in our visit with him.

There you go. Our stories from talking to LaDell! RIP Coach!
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Re: Ladell Anderson passed away today

Post by utaggies » December 31st, 2019, 7:11 pm

Incredible write-up. Thanks a ton!

I was very disappointed to see the D-New’s story on LaDell’s passing. They primarily interviewed only BYU coaches and former players for the story — as if that was the singular school he was at. LaDell made his name at USU, not BYU. He was an Aggie then and forever.



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Re: Ladell Anderson passed away today

Post by BobWilson » December 31st, 2019, 9:48 pm

Thanks AF, just as I remembered - a most memorable visit - perhaps the most ever for me.
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Re: Ladell Anderson passed away today

Post by bluegrouse » January 1st, 2020, 12:55 am

That’s good stuff, AF. Thanks for posting it.



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Re: Ladell Anderson passed away today

Post by pablohoney » January 1st, 2020, 8:29 am

Thanks for taking the time for that write-up AF, incredible Aggie history lesson.
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Re: Ladell Anderson passed away today

Post by Bill_George » January 1st, 2020, 10:58 am

That was just awesome!

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