Louie Raymond Ladd was born on May 31, 1945, to George and Rose Ladd in Monteagle – the ninth child of ten. He grew up with eight brothers and one sister. Ladd’s living siblings are Fred and J.B. Ladd. John Henry, Kenneth, Elizabeth, Bobby, Bill, Lawerence “Pookie,” and Donny are deceased.
Growing up, Louie attended Monteagle Elementary School and walked to school every day, but not before he milked the cows. The only days he did not have school was when there was no heat or no water. After school, he would walk home and do his house chores including chopping wood, feeding the chickens and hogs, and whatever else needed to be done. On the weekends and during summer breaks, they would pick berries, garden, play “ball” with a rubber ball and a broom stick, and learn how to field a ball by throwing it against the porch wall.
While growing up, George and Rose always had a house full of boys, not just their own. Jimmy Gipson, Bobby Worley, Billy Joe Smith, George Crow, and William Johnson are just a few that would play with the Ladds’. Rose believed that if one person ate, they all ate, and if one person got in trouble, they all got in trouble.
Ladd began high school in 1961 at Grundy County High School. Beginning as a freshman, he played football and basketball because baseball did not have a team. He played the end position on the football team. Coach Ed Cantrell came from Florida at the start of Ladd’s sophomore year, and laid out a plan to get Grundy County football back on track.
“Coach Holly Brown was an exceptional offensive coach,” says Ladd, who made All TVC (Tennessee Valley Conference) and All SVC (Sequatchie Valley Conference) three years as a sophomore, junior, and senior. He played both defense and offense as an end. During his three-year lettering, he caught 173 passes for over 1,800 yards. During his junior year, the GCHS football team was ranked seventh in the entire state. During his senior year, he made All Mid-State, All Tri-State, and Player of the Year in SVC.
Ladd also played basketball for the Yellow Jackets during his high school career. He played all four years and only missed one game to be an usher in William Henry Nunley’s wedding in Miami, FL. Ladd lettered all four years of his basketball career. He scored 1,857 points and averaged double digits in points, and also had over 1,400 rebounds and averaged double digits in rebounds his four years. He scored 10 points his very first game as a freshman. He made All Sixteenth District during his junior and senior years and All SVC all four years.
Ladd is most proud of making 35 free throws in a row before missing one. Coach Holly Brown was the basketball coach and his rule was if you missed a free throw you had to run five step laps. Ladd technically did not miss the free throw because Greg Fults stepped in the lane and received a lane violation and Coach Brown made Greg run the laps.
In his career, he played against some good basketball players and wanted to guard the best player every game. He played against John Boynton, an All American football player at UT and Miami Dolphins football player. He played against Monk Montgomery from Kittrell who went to play at Auburn, and guarded Mike Edwards who went to UT and played.
Ladd received a football scholarship to play at Tennessee Tech University in1965. He played three freshman games and caught three touchdown passes and then moved to the varsity team and played for Carlton Flatt. The team had just moved over to the new football practice stadium and during practice he blew out his knee. Ladd finished out his year at Tech and Ken Colquitt was his roommate. He decided to end college after his first year because he could not play football anymore or financially afford to go to college.
After leaving Tech, he moved back to Monteagle and went to work doing different jobs. When Rose died in 1969, Ladd decided to move to Dalton and work selling and laying carpet. He spent 13 years in Dalton working and playing softball. He joined a traveling men’s softball team that was a big deal in Dalton at the time. He would drive back to Monteagle and play with a team whose teammates included Fred, Ted, Donny, Russell, Mark Ladd, David Gilliam, Tommy Bobo Hughes, Joe Morgan, Ricky Layne, Lewis Partin, Jerry Crownover, Johnny Alexander, John Dykes, Larry Tate, Richard Sampley, Bill Lockhart, Tim Ramsey, Jimmy Long, Rip Hampton, and David Mansfield. He played over 200 softball games a year for 13 years. They would play 8-10 games on the weekend and 3-4 during the week. The Monteagle team won four state championships, came in runner-up a couple in several, and garnered a national championship. The year they won the national championship, Ladd played on three state championship teams and one national championship team. He says if he had a quarter for every ball that he chased or hit, he would be a millionaire today. That is how much softball he has played in his lifetime. In the year 2010, Louie was inducted into the North Georgia Softball Hall of Fame.
The same group that played softball also played baseball in the Mountain Valley League. They started playing when they were 16 years old, playing against grown-ups. The team played for 20 years during the week and on the weekends. Ladd says that they won more games than they lost. They never won the state baseball tournament but did come in runner-up a few times. Ladd made the National Baseball Congress in Omaha with the most strikeouts in one baseball game. The team played 14 innings and he struck out 28 batters, winning the game against Hornwall.
Ladd met Debbie Nunley in August of 1980, and married her in January 1983. In June 1985, they welcomed a daughter Marilu Ladd Brewer, and a son Michael Raymond Ladd in 1987. Debbie was an outstanding athlete at GCHS, receiving a scholarship to play basketball and softball at Motlow State. She had an opportunity to play both at Mississippi State.
Marilu played basketball all four years at GCHS and played volleyball for two years. Michael Ladd played basketball all four years and golf all four years.
Ladd is a very proud grandfather of five grandkids (Emma Ladd, Harper and Hazely Brewer, and Zeppelin and Zuri Ladd.) He coached Marilu in basketball during her elementary school years and Michael during his football and baseball years when he was younger. He led Monteagle Elementary to their first State Championship in Springfield with only eight players on his team ( Abi Ramsey Browning, Amy Lawson Byers, Amanda Layne Parsons, Kasey Kilgore Anderson, Phylinda Ramsey, Allison Nunley Brown, Marilu Ladd Brewer, and Holly Smartt McBee).
Ladd’s little league baseball team went to the state tournament in Dixie Youth Baseball (Josh Sitz, Dustin Fults, Michael Sanders, Stephen Meeks, Derek Watwood, Zack Rymer, Willie Blalock, Chris Kopek, Jesse Kramarz, Shawn Condra, Michael Ladd, and Derek ).
Ladd still coached his kids during their high school careers, just not on the bench.
He has coached some outstanding athletes for GCHS, MCHS including Abi Ramsey who went on to play at Vanderbilt University. When Marilu and Michael got into their own coaching careers, He helped his children coach several kids who play high school ball today.
Ladd loves sports and helping kids learn sports. His daughter Marilu says of her dad, “He is the greatest man, greatest coach, and greatest dad. He is just great! I’m was proud that I got to call him my coach but I am more proud to call him my dad.”
Louie is now retired and plays golf, spends time with family and friends, and enjoys reminiscing with family and friends.