100 YEARS HEROES: Catching Up With John Stroud
As part of this season's celebration of the First 100 years of Ole Miss Basketball, OleMissSports.com will be featuring stories and exclusive content throughout the year that look back on some of the great moments, teams and players of the past. The celebration will culminate with the public introduction of the All-Century Team at the Feb. 21 Georgia game.
John Stroud enjoyed perhaps the most decorated career in Ole Miss Hoops history. The New Albany native remains the Rebels' all-time leading scorer and ranks third in SEC history. He is one of only two Rebels to receive All-America honors in two different seasons and topped the SEC in scoring in 1979 and 1980. Following his days in the Red and Blue, Stroud played professionally, coached at the high school and college level and opened his own business, as he discusses in the following Q&A.
Q: What are you doing these days?
A: I own the John Stroud Insurance Agency in New Albany. I bought it in 2003 after I left coaching at Millsaps College. I also coach the high school girls basketball team in New Albany. After school each day I go over and work with the varsity girls. I’m really enjoying both of the jobs. I get to be my own boss and stay in basketball.
Q: How have you managed to stay around basketball for almost your whole life?
A: In one form or another I’ve been around basketball for a long time. After I played at Ole Miss and played pro ball for a while, I got into coaching. I coached at Alabama, then high school, junior college and Division III. At Millsaps, I just got burned out with the recruiting aspect, because it’s so hard to recruit in DIII without scholarships. I’m still enjoying coaching basketball, but on a lighter level now.
Q: What are some of your favorite memories of playing basketball in college and the pros?
A: When you play for a while, you have a lot of memories. In my Ole Miss days, I have a lot of good memories there, like going to the school’s first postseason tournament in over 50 years. We went to the NIT in 1980, and that was a great achievement for us. Playing pro basketball for two years (with the Houston Rockets), I got to experience the NBA side that every kid dreams about. Some great memories there like playing against the Lakers’ “Fabulous Four” in Los Angeles and playing in the Boston Garden. I also guarded Larry Bird for a quarter one night. And then I played European ball in Spain. That’s a side of basketball people rarely see over here. Playing from the SEC to the NBA to Spain, I experienced a lot of great things in my playing career.
Q: As Ole Miss’ all-time leading scorer, do you still have fans celebrate your playing days as a Rebel?
A: Actually, a lot of people still do (recognize me). The people a lot younger than me don’t know that, but people that followed basketball back in the 70s and 80s do. One thing that people may not realize is that I still hold the record for most points in a game at Mississippi State’s Humphrey Coliseum, which is pretty neat. State recruited me really hard but I didn’t go there. My first two years at Ole Miss I scored two points there as a freshman and then four points as a sophomore. And then my junior year I get 40-something and set the record. That’s pretty special.
Q: How has your Ole Miss experience and education brought you to the point you’re at today?
A: It opened up a lot of doors for me. During my time at Ole Miss I got to know a lot of influential people that helped me out wherever I went, whether it was the NBA or coaching or business. I am fortunate to have an education from the University of Mississippi, which is the premier school in the state. It means a lot to me to have my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from there. I was also inducted into the Regions SEC Business Hall of Fame last year, and that has helped me in business because of my ties to Ole Miss.
NOTE: Stroud may or may not be able to participate in the First 100 Years of Ole Miss Basketball celebration at the Feb. 21 home game vs. Georgia because his New Albany girls squad is currently 22-3 and poised to make a deep run in the state playoffs.
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