Dan McLaughlin is in his 12th year as head football coach at Wayne State College. Heading into the 2016 campaign, McLaughlin has a career record of 63-60 (.512) overall and 59-49 (.546) in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Inheriting a struggling program, McLaughlin turned Wayne State into a constant winner that included six straight winning seasons (2007-12), a feat never achieved in the program's 100-year history.
McLaughlin became Wayne State's all-time win's leader on October 24, 2015 following a 20-17 at home win over Concordia-St. Paul. It was his 63rd win as Wildcat Head Coach, surpassing Del Stoltenberg who was 62-70-5 in his 14 years as Head Coach at WSC from 1969-82. Entering his 12th season, McLaughlin is the second longest tenured coach in school history.
Under McLaughlin in 2015, Wayne State finished 4-7 overall and 1-6 in the NSIC South Division.
Wayne State finished the 2014 season at 5-6 overall and tied for fourth in the NSIC South Division with a 3-4 record. Marquee wins during the year included a 27-7 rout of #25 Winona State on Homecoming and a wild 48-45 overtime win at Southwest Minnesota State.
The Wildcats were 2-9 in the 2013 season with five of the teams' losses by seven points or less, including a season-opening 29-27 triple overtime loss at Northern State that was the longest game in school history.
Under McLaughlin in 2012, the Wildcats recorded a 6-5 record for a sixth straight winning season. Three of the team's five losses were by seven points or less. For the fifth straight season, Wildcat football had at least one player receive All-America honors under McLaughlin as senior punter Randy Weich was named to six different All-America teams.
In 2011, Wayne State finished with a record of 7-4 overall and 7-3 in the NSIC. The Wildcats were nationally ranked for a fourth straight season with the team's signature win coming in a 7-0 triumph over #1 ranked and defending national champion Minnesota Duluth ending the Bulldogs 31 game win streak against NSIC opponents. McLaughlin moved into second place on the all-time wins list at Wayne State following a thrilling 44-41 overtime win over Upper Iowa on October 29th, surpassing Dennis Wagner (44-37-1/1989-96) for second place on the Wildcat all-time wins list.
The Wildcats were 6-5 overall and 5-5 in the NSIC during the 2010 season. WSC was ranked for part of the season and was as high as 18th in the AFCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll. Two of the Wildcat wins were over top 15 teams that made the playoffs, beating #13 Nebraska-Kearney and #7 Augustana, handing the Vikings their lone loss during the regular season.
McLaughlin's 2009 team was 8-3 and ranked a majority of the season - as high 11th in the D2Football.com and 14th in the AFCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll. The Wildcats accumulated an impressive 24-11 mark under McLaughlin from 2007-09 (9-3 in 2008 and 7-5 in 2007), marking the most wins in a three year span in Wayne State's 95 years of football.
Predicted for a seventh place finish out of 14 teams in the NSIC for the 2008 season, McLaughlin coached the Wildcats to a 9-3 record and the programs’ first-ever berth in the NCAA Division II playoffs. The Wildcats won seven straight games to finish the regular season and earned a share of the NSIC South Division title with Minnesota State, going 8-2 in league play.
The nine wins in 2008 tied the school record, matching the 1949 (9-0) and 1993 (9-1) teams that also won nine games in a season. WSC finished the regular season ranked 22nd in NCAA Division II, the first national ranking for a WSC football team since 1995. For leading WSC to a 9-3 season, McLaughlin was named the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) NCAA Division II Region V Football Coach of the Year.
The Wildcats posted a 7-5 overall record in 2007, the first winning season by a WSC football team since 1995. Wayne State finished second place in the Northern Sun Conference with a 7-2 league mark despite a predicted fifth place finish in the NSIC preseason poll. It was the best-ever finish in conference play for the Wildcat football team since joining the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in 1999 and resulted in Coach McLaughlin being named the 2007 NSIC Football Coach of the Year.
The Wildcats' second place finish in the NSIC resulted in just the second-ever post season bowl appearance in 91 years of football for the school as Wayne State represented the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in the Mineral Water Bowl played in Excelsior Springs, Missouri on December 1, 2007. Other milestones accomplished in the 2007 season under McLaughlin included the school's first six-game win streak on the gridiron since 1993 and the first regional ranking (10th in the Northwest Region) for a Wildcat football team since 1993 when WSC was ranked as high as fourth in the former Midwest Region.
Under McLaughlin in 2006, the Wildcats went 5-6 with three of the losses by a combined nine points. WSC recorded their first three-game winning streak in football since 1995 during the 2006 campaign and posted back-to-back shutout wins for the first time since the 1976 season. Also serving as offensive line coach, the Wildcats allowed an NSIC-low two sacks in league play under the coaching of McLaughlin in the 2006 season.
WSC amassed a 4-7 mark under McLaughlin in his first season at the school in 2005 and the teams' 4-3 mark in the NSIC that season was the school's first-ever winning mark in football since joining the league.
Dan McLaughlin was hired as the 21st head football coach at Wayne State College on Dec. 9, 2004. He came to Wayne State after spending one season as offensive coordinator at Minnesota State in Mankato, Minnesota where he helped the Mavericks to a 6-5 record in 2004 after the team went 0-11 in 2003. It was Minnesota State's first winning season in football since 1994. He also served as offensive line coach with the Mavericks under head coach Jeff Jamrog. In 2003, McLaughlin was a graduate assistant coach at the University of Nebraska, working as an assistant offensive line coach and assistant special teams coach while coordinating Nebraska's walk-on program.
Before moving to the college ranks, McLaughlin achieved success at the high school level in Nebraska by winning state championships at three different schools. He was the head coach at Millard West from 1995 to 2002, guiding the Wildcats to seven consecutive playoff appearances. His 2001 team went 12-1 and captured the Class A state title. McLaughlin was the head coach at Norfolk High School from 1988 to 1994, leading the Panthers to the Class A state title in 1994. McLaughlin also coached at Broken Bow High School in 1987 and led the school to the Class B state crown in his only season at Broken Bow.
Believed to be the only head coach in Nebraska high school football history to win state titles at three different schools, McLaughlin compiled a high school coaching record of 110-59.
McLaughlin earned his master's degree from Wayne State College in 1992. He is a native of Sheridan, Montana and is a 1982 graduate of Bellevue College. Dan and his wife Nadine have two sons (Scott and Sean) along with three grandchildren and they reside in Wayne.