We are excited to welcome Jim McLaughlin to The Academy staff! Jim is the only person to coach both a women’s and a men’s volleyball team to NCAA titles and a former women’s volleyball national coach of the year at the University of Washington. He was most recently the head coach at the University of Notre Dame.
McLaughlin coached the USC men’s team to an NCAA title in 1989-90 and then led the University of Washington women’s team to the 2005 NCAA crown. He went to Notre Dame in 2015 following 14 highly successful seasons as the Huskies’ coach, a tenure that featured four trips to the NCAA national semifinals in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2013. He earned rave reviews for turning around struggling women’s programs both at Washington and at Kansas State University.
In his first season at Notre Dame in 2015, he helped mentor a pair of standout performers in Second Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference product Sam Fry and ACC All-Freshman Team member Meg Morningstar.
The Irish made a vast improvement in their second season under McLaughlin in 2016, posting a record of 22-10 after combining for 13 wins in the two previous seasons. Notre Dame finished with a record of 13-7 in conference play, marking the most ACC victories in a season in program history. Of the team’s 22 victories, 16 came in straight-set fashion.
He finished his third season under the Golden Dome in 2017 with a career record of 630-253 (.713). The Irish finished the 2017 campaign with a record of 22-10, earning their first trip back to the NCAA Championships since the 2012 season. With the 22 victories, Notre Dame recorded back-to-back 20-plus win season for the first time since 2004 and 2005.
With 27 years of NCAA head coaching experience, McLaughlin has proven his abilities both to recruit talented student-athletes and to cultivate championship programs. He has made 19 appearances in the NCAA postseason in his 27 years, including four with Kansas State, which advanced to the Sweet 16 in 2000. He also spent seven seasons as the men’s head coach at USC, where he won the 1990 national championship and finished as runner-up in 1991.
McLaughlin had another outstanding year in his final campaign at Washington in 2014. The Huskies set a program record for regular-season wins (31-3), reached No. 2 in the AVCA poll, earned a No. 3 national seed in the NCAA Championship and earned a slot in the NCAA bracket for the 13th straight year, the eighth-longest active streak.
Leading his team was outside hitter Krista Vansant, a two-time Honda Award winner (2013 and 2014), the 2014 ESPNW national player of the year, the 2014 Capital One Academic All-American of the Year in volleyball and a two-time Pac-12 player of the year.
In addition to a national title, the McLaughlin era at Washington produced four NCAA Final Four appearances, three national players of the year, three Pacific-12 Conference titles, 17 players who combined for 34 American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America awards, nine CoSIDA Academic All-America scrolls and 58 all-Pac-12 awards.
McLaughlin was recognized by his peers as the 2004 AVCA National Coach of the Year and Pacific-12 Coach of the Year in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2013. The four Pacific-12 Coach of the Year honors are tied for second most in conference history. McLaughlin took over the Washington program in 2001, inheriting a team that finished last in the Pac-10 standings in 2000. Within five seasons he transformed the Huskies from worst to first, not just in the Pac-10 but also in the nation, as Washington captured the 2005 NCAA title in McLaughlin’s fifth season.
Under his direction the Huskies qualified for 13 straight NCAA Championships (2002-14), advancing to the Final Four on four occasions, with seven Elite Eight and eight Sweet 16 appearances since 2002. Washington finished first or second in the loaded Pac-12 eight times in the past 11 years.
McLaughlin’s coaching resulted in some of the NCAA’s most decorated players over the past 14 years. Vansant (2013 and 2014) and setter Courtney Thompson (2005) each won the Honda Award for the top player in the sport, and Vansant also took home the AVCA National Player of the Year honor in 2013. Volleyball Magazine named outside hitter Sanja Tomasevic its player of the year in 2005, and twice named libero Tamari Miyashiro the national defensive player of the year.
The influence McLaughlin has had on the sport of volleyball in Seattle was on display in 2013 when Seattle played host to the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship for the first time. The Huskies reached the Final Four for the first time since 2006, playing the semifinals in front of a sold-out Key Arena, which holds nearly 15,000 fans.
Washington was ranked in the AVCA top 25 in every poll since week one of 2003 – and over the last 11 years was in the top 10 in 164 of a possible 175 coaches polls. The Huskies achieved the No. 1 national ranking in 2004, 2005 and 2013, and the No. 2 ranking in 2006, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
The U.S. national team has prospered in recent years thanks to Husky standouts that played under McLaughlin. Among those is a pair of silver medalists from the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London – former Honda Award winner Courtney Thompson and three-time All-American Tamari Miyashiro. Jenna Hagglund and Janine Sandell have competed for Team USA and Great Britain, respectively.
Before arriving at Washington, McLaughlin spent four seasons as women’s coach at Kansas State (1997-2000), compiling an 82-43 record and advancing to the NCAA Championship all four years. Two Wildcats earned All-America honors, seven were named to the all-Big 12 Conference first team and 15 garnered first-team academic all-conference accolades with McLaughlin at the helm. In 2000, he coached Kansas State to a 22-9 record, a program-best No. 16 national ranking and its first trip to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Before he was hired at Kansas State on April 16, 1997, McLaughlin spent one season as an assistant women’s coach at Notre Dame. That year, the Irish (22-12) went unbeaten in conference play, earning the BIG EAST Conference regular-season and tournament titles.
At USC McLaughlin’s men’s teams went 142-75 (.654) and ranked in the top 10 five times. Fifteen players earned All-America accolades, led by two-time national player of the year Bryan Ivie, who joined teammates Dan Greenbaum and Nick Becker to earn a bronze medal in Barcelona, Spain, as members of the 1992 U.S. Men’s Olympic squad.
In 1989-90, McLaughlin’s first season at USC, the Trojans (picked fifth and seventh, respectively, in the two preseason polls) won the school’s fourth NCAA title and finished 26-7 overall. McLaughlin joined Pepperdine’s Rod Wilde as the only rookie coaches to win NCAA men’s volleyball titles. A year later, USC entered the 1990-91 season with a No. 1 ranking and held that spot all season. McLaughlin’s Trojans won 34 of 36 matches and lost just 21 games. The team rattled off a school-record 30-match win streak, including a perfect 16-0 record in conference play.
An elite setter as a player, McLaughlin played two seasons at Santa Monica Junior College (1980-81), helped win the 1981 California Junior College Championship and competed in the 1981 U.S. World University Games. He transferred to UC Santa Barbara (1982-83) as the Gauchos’ starting setter for two seasons, earning honorable mention All-America honors as a senior. While finishing his bachelor’s degree in film studies, the 1985 graduate served as a student assistant coach for both the UCSB men’s and women’s squads. He captained the 1985 U.S. World University Games team and was a United States Volleyball Association All-American.
McLaughlin spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Pepperdine University (1986-89), helping the Waves to a combined 74-41 record and the 1986 NCAA men’s title. The Malibu, California, native also has experience coaching on the international level as a three-time head coach at the World University Games (1991, 1993, 1995), in addition to serving as head coach of the 1991 Pan-Am team and a consultant for the men’s U.S. Olympic teams in 1992 and 1996.
McLaughlin and his wife Margaret are parents of three daughters: Megan, Molly, and Marit.