McLaughlin named new coach
Greg Hadley | Monday, January 19, 2015
After a national search that took the better part of six weeks, Notre Dame introduced Jim McLaughlin, former head coach at Washington, as the new head coach of the Irish volleyball team Saturday.
McLaughlin has coached on the collegiate level since 1985 and spent the past 14 years coaching the Huskies to a 355-90 overall record, including 13 NCAA tournaments, four Final Fours and a national title in 2005.
He also was an assistant coach at Notre Dame in 1996 under former head coach Debbie Brown, whom he will replace. He departed after one season to accept the head coaching job at Kansas State but remained tied to the Irish through his wife, Margaret, who both played and coached for the women’s soccer team.
The Seattle Times first broke news of the hire Friday, and Notre Dame officially confirmed it a day later.
McLaughlin is the only coach in NCAA history to win national titles with both a men’s and women’s team. In addition to his title with the Huskies, he coached USC’s men’s team during its 1989-1990 championship run. He was named national coach of the year in 2004 and won Pac-12 coach of the year four times.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled with the outcome of our coaching search,” Notre Dame Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick said. “Jim McLaughlin is an elite coach who has enjoyed success at the highest levels. However, fundamentally, he is an extraordinary teacher of the game and is absolutely committed to helping student-athletes reach their full potential in all aspects of their collegiate experience.”
Swarbrick announced Dec. 4 that longtime coach Debbie Brown would not be returning in 2015 after Notre Dame’s second consecutive losing season. While Brown had led the Irish to 22 NCAA tournaments previously, the team struggled in its transition to the ACC, posting a conference record of 10-28 in those two seasons.
“Our expectations regarding competitive performance are … high, and we regrettably have not been able to meet those in recent years,” Swarbrick said in a press release at the time.
Swarbrick later told The Observer on Dec. 18 that the national search for a new coach was being spearheaded by Missy Conboy, Notre Dame’s senior deputy athletics director, and that he expected a hire soon.
McLaughlin arrives at Notre Dame with a history of turning around struggling programs. He took over Kansas State and Washington programs coming off losing seasons and missed the NCAA tournament just once during his tenure at the two schools. His record as a women’s coach is 437-133, giving him a .766 winning percentage.
“I believe Notre Dame can become a top-tier volleyball program,” McLaughlin said. “The school has so much to offer student-athletes, and I think recruits will see the opportunities available to them here. … I can’t wait to get to work so that we can help return Notre Dame volleyball to being a program that competes at the highest level.”