“This [Hall of Fame] was the one that really made me famous so I had to go back and thank everybody” said Landa in an interview with the VOICE, who’s already been inducted into 11 previous Halls of Fame including the James Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA.
Landa’s fame dates back to the late 60’s and early 70’s. He brought national attention and prominence to Mercer athletics by coaching the basketball team to win the Junior College National Title back to back years.
“He was considered one of the best coaches in the nation at the time,” says Mercer’s current Athletics Director John Simone.
Landa’s first Junior College National Title win was in 1973, when his Vikings beat a Kansas, who were coached by a young Gene Keaty, who went on to coach at Purdue University. This was first time in history that an east coast team won the national title.
Landa went on to coach professionally in Italy, was a scout for the NBA and even coached at the division-one level with the Rebels of The University of Las Vegas (UNLV) in the mid 1990’s. He is now in his last year of teaching Physical Education courses at UNLV, and is in the beginning stages of writing a book. He also holds basketball camps in Hawaii during the summer months.
Landa had this to say about his time at Mercer. “The greatest thing is the friendships I’ll never forget, and all the kids we sent onto four-year universities.”
Landa’s name is also being considered to be put on the floor of Mercer Gym, in donor recognition.
“They’re still in the talking phases; nothing is definite,” said Mercer Athletics Director John Simone.
Landa, who says he will never forget his friends and time at Mercer, and still stays up-to date on Mercer’s athletics. He joked about the matching initials (H.L.) that he and current Mercer Men’s Basketball Head Coach, Howard Levy, have and said “You guys have an outstanding coach now and he will lead you back to greatness,” about coach Levy.