Southern Miss head coach Jay Ladner announced the addition of Juan Cardona to his staff on May 12, 2022 ahead of the 2022-23 season.

Cardona joins the Golden Eagle staff after spending two seasons at Mercer. In his first year with the Bears, Mercer won 17 games and finished fourth in the Southern Conference. A six-game winning streak early in 2020 helped the Bears garner National Association of Basketball Coaches Team of the Week honors. Cardona then helped the Bears to 18 wins in his second season and a run to the Southern Conference title game where it fell to top-seeded UNC-Greensboro.

At season’s end, three players – Djordje Dimitrijevic, Ethan Stair and Kamar Robertson – received All-SoCon honors for their on-court performance. Dimitrijevic was also recognized by the NABC as a Second Team All-District XXI selection and a College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Second Team Academic All-America

Cardona arrived in Macon following a three-year stretch as the head coach of the varsity boys program at Miami Christian High School in Miami, Fla., where he led the program to a pair of 2A FHSAA state titles (2017, 2018) and a No. 1 ranking in the state of Florida during the 2017 season.

In his three seasons with the varsity boys program at Miami Christian, Cardona achieved a 74-19 record for a .796 winning percentage.

Cardona spent one season (2018-19) on the sidelines with the varsity girls team, leading the squad to a 17-7 record and an appearance in the FHSAA 2A semifinals, which was a first for the girls program.

Cardona additionally led the Miami Tropics AAU program from 2016-19, where he worked alongside his mentor, Art Alvarez.
An experienced and accomplished coach in Puerto Rico and Mexico as well, Cardona served as the head coach for seven different professional organizations from 2007-18, including a recent position with Caciques de Humacao in Humacao, P.R.
Further accomplishments of Cardona’s include leading the Puerto Rican U-17 National Team to a gold medal at the Centrobasket Tournament in 2007 and leading American University (Bayamon, P.R.) and Caribbean University (Bayamon, P.R.) as head coach. Cardona spent one season on the sidelines at American and was at Caribbean University from 2009-2011.

Cardona’s coaching career began in 1998 when he was named head coach at Lino Padron Rivera High School in his hometown of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico.