(Courtesy Wayne State College Athletics)
Wayne State College head football coach Dan McLaughlin announced late Thursday afternoon that he is retiring after 15 years on the Wildcat sidelines. Wayne State College Director of Athletics Mike Powicki said the search for McLaughlin’s replacement will begin immediately.
McLaughlin leaves Wayne State as the school’s all-time wins leader, posting a 79-88 record overall (.473) and 75-77 mark (.493) in NSIC games. Inheriting a struggling program that had nine straight losing seasons when he became head coach in 2005, McLaughlin built Wayne State into a constant winner producing six straight winning seasons from 2007-12 (a feat never accomplished in 104 years of the program) that included the school’s only NCAA Division II playoff trip in 2008 and a berth in the Mineral Water Bowl in 2007.
“I want to thank Coach McLaughlin for his years of service to our football program and athletic department,” said Powicki. “During his career Dan made the Wayne State football program relevant and competitive within the Northern Sun Conference and NCAA Division II. He has a deep passion for this place and I know he will be a great ambassador for Wayne State College moving forward.”
McLaughlin had seven winning seasons on the Wildcat sidelines, highlighted by his 2008 team that posted a 9-3 record and advanced to the NCAA Division II playoffs for the first time before falling 23-17 at Chadron State. The nine wins that season tied a school record, earning McLaughlin NSIC Coach of the Year and AFCA Division II Region 5 Coach of the Year honors. The 2008 team also earned a share of the NSIC South Division title with an 8-2 league mark and finished the season ranked 22nd in the AFCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll.
His 2007 team recorded a 7-5 record and earned a berth in the Mineral Water Bowl, just the second bowl appearance in school history. Wayne State’s most recent winning season was a 6-5 mark in 2017.
McLaughlin was the second-longest tenured coach in the NSIC (trailing only Tom Sawyer’s 24 years at Winona State) and the longest tenured coach ever at Wayne State College. He coached 10 All-Americans and three Academic All-Americans along with 125 All-Northern Sun Conference selections during his time at Wayne State College.
“Late last month, after a freezing four hours standing on the sidelines and a 10-hour bus ride home from Bismarck, North Dakota I walked into my home and told my wife, Nadine, that ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’,” commented Coach McLaughlin. “In each subsequent week little things continued to pop up that only bolstered my feelings. A few years ago a dear friend of mine retired and I was surprised….and when I asked him why he retired he simply replied ‘it was time’. The time is right for my family and me.”
McLaughlin added, “I’ve been fortunate to have a great run in this profession. Thanks to Wayne State College for the opportunity and support, especially our athletic director Mike Powicki and President Dr. Marysz Rames. I would especially like to thank the men, including my son Scott, who have worked with me over the years as assistant coaches, and most importantly, the hundreds of young men who chose to attend Wayne State to further their educations and who allowed me to coach them in this great game we call football.”