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Ex-Gregory Assistant Returns to UCSB as New Volleyball Coach

Rick McLaughlin was on staff of Gauchos' 2005 Big West title team.

Rick McLaughlin, formerly the men’s volleyball coach at Loyola Marymount, an assistant women’s coach at UCSB, and most recently the women’s coach at Golden West College, has been named head men’s coach at UCSB, Athletics Director Gary Cunningham announced Tuesday. McLaughlin will replace Ken Preston, who retired in 2008 after 30 years at the helm of the program.

“I am elated that Rick McLaughlin is joining our staff,” Cunningham said. “He comes to us with a wealth of experience, and I believe that he is the right person to help Gaucho volleyball continue a long tradition of success.”


Rick McLaughlin

“I am very excited to be back in Santa Barbara, and back doing what I want to do, which is coach Division I men’s volleyball,” McLaughlin said. “I am really lucky to take over a program that has been run so well for so long. When I started coaching at 23, Ken (Preston) helped me a great deal and I have always looked up to him. He is a real class act. This should be a very easy transition, and one that I am looking forward to.”

McLaughlin guided the LMU program for eight years beginning in 1993, and ending in 2000 when the school dropped the sport. He was named Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year in 1998 and 2000. Following the 2000 season, he was also selected ASICS/Volleyball Magazine National Coach of the Year after guiding the Lions to the semifinals of the MPSF Tournament, a first for the program. That season, McLaughlin’s squad recorded wins over traditional powers UCLA, Penn State and Long Beach State.

After leaving LMU, McLaughlin was the men’s volleyball coach and a physical education instructor at Santa Monica College in 2000-01. 

In the fall of 2001, he joined the staff of his brother Jim — a UCSB alumnus — to help rebuild the women’s programs at Washington. In his one season, he helped direct the Huskies to their highest victory total in five years.

Following his season in Seattle, McLaughlin returned to Southern California, rejoining Marv Dunphy’s men’s staff at Pepperdine. He began his collegiate coaching career under Dunphy, coaching the 1991 and 1992 seasons and helping the Waves to the 1992 NCAA championship. McLaughlin’s second stint in Malibu (2002-05) resulted in three Final Four appearances and the 2005 national championship.

Beginning in the spring of 2005, he spent one year as an assistant on Kathy Gregory‘s UCSB staff, a year in which the Gauchos went 21-9 overall and 12-2 in the Big West Conference, sharing the league title and advancing to the NCAA tournament.

In 2006, McLaughlin became head women’s coach at Golden West, where two successful years culminated this past season when he guided the program to the state title game, which the Rustlers lost to El Camino College. His two-year record at Golden West was 36-9.

As a player, McLaughlin was a four-year starting setter at Loyola Marymount. When he completed his career, he ranked among the Lions’ top-10 in career assists (1,691) and service aces (58). At LMU, McLaughlin earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. In 1999, he completed his master’s degree in education at Azusa Pacific.

Scott Flanders is UCSB‘s associate media relations director.

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