PHILADELPHIA - University of Pennsylvania director of athletics Steve Bilsky has announced the hiring of Mike McLaughlin as the Quakers’ head coach of women’s basketball. McLaughlin becomes the eighth coach in program history.
McLaughlin comes to Penn from NCAA Division II member Holy Family University, where in 14 seasons as head coach of the women’s basketball team he has had a career equal to anyone who has coached the game. McLaughlin has racked up an impressive record of 407 wins and 61 losses, a winning percentage of .870 which is the highest at any level of NCAA Basketball (men or women). Out of his 14 seasons as a head coach, McLaughlin has been honored as the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) Coach of the Year 13 times.
Earlier this year, McLaughlin won his 400th game as a head coach faster than any other women’s basketball coach in NCAA history, doing it in 459 games. The Division I record is held by Leon Barmore, who needed 463 games to reach the milestone at Louisiana Tech, while the Division III record is 464 games set by Nancy Fahey at Washington University (Mo.).
“When we initially brought Mike in, it was obviously hard to look past the remarkable record he has had at Holy Family,” said Bilsky. “However, what we found out during the search process is that his players love playing for him, he is a great representative of the University at which he works, and he is big on building the community around him. We look forward to having him do that with our women’s basketball program, our department, and our University.”
“It is an honor and a privilege to represent a world-class institution like Penn,” said McLaughlin. “I look forward to building a foundation of success that will enable the women’s basketball program to consistently be at the top of the Ivy League. I want to thank Steve Bilsky and his staff for affording me the opportunity to take on this tremendous responsibility.”
McLaughlin’s teams won at least 25 games in each of his 14 years as Holy Family’s head coach. In six of those years (1998, 2000-03, 2008), the Tigers won 30 games, including a pair of 32-win seasons (1998 and 2008). Holy Family reached 29 wins three other times (1999, 2006, 2007).
Holy Family won six CACC Tournament championships with him at the helm (2000-02, 2005, 2007-08) and four NAIA conference crowns (Southeastern - 1996; Northeast - 1997, 1998; North - 2003). As an NAIA member, the Tigers made four trips to the national quarterfinals (1998, 2001-03), and since joining NCAA Division II in 2003-04 the team has qualified for the NCAA Tournament every season.
This past season, Holy Family went 26-6 overall and was a perfect 18-0 in the CACC -- the fourth straight year the Tigers went undefeated in the regular season in conference play. Holy Family’s season ended in the NCAA East Region second round against Stonehill (Mass.).
In 2007-08, Holy Family started the season unranked, but had earned national respect by year’s end after finishing the season with a 32-1 mark. The Tigers won the CACC Tournament championship and made its fifth appearance in the NCAA Northeast Regional Tournament. For the first time, the Tigers earned the region’s top seed and were selected as the host institution for the tournament. Holy Family reached the NCAA Northeast Region final for the first time. During that season, Holy Family ranked as high as fourth nationally in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll, and ended the year ranked ninth.
McLaughlin has had his tremendous success with tough, hard-nosed defense. In five of the last six seasons, the Tigers finished in the top-10 in Division II in scoring defense and led the nation in that statistic in 2003-04 (51.8 ppg), 2007-08 (50.7 ppg), and 2008-09 (48.5 ppg). During the same time span, Holy Family ended the season in the top-five in field goal percentage defense five times -- the Tigers were sixth this past season -- and twice led the nation.
McLaughlin’s teams also had success in the classroom. All of the four-year players that he has brought in, and stayed all four years, have graduated. In 2007-08, the team boasted a team grade-point average of 3.43. For the second year in a row, McLaughlin’s program was rated the best in Division II by the College Bound Student Athletes (CBSA) guide.
McLaughlin was a two-year assistant on the women’s staff at Holy Family before taking the reins as its third head coach in 1995-96.
A graduate of Holy Family, McLaughlin received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. From his stellar playing career at Holy Family, he remains fifth all-time in scoring with 1,710 points and third with 755 assists. McLaughlin also remains the best 3-pointer shooter to wear a Tiger uniform, connecting on 57.7 percent (161 of 279) of his attempts in his four seasons. He also holds the top two 3-point shooting percentages for a season -- in 1989 McLaughlin hit 59.3 percent of his shots, and in 1988 he was a 58.5-percent shooter.
McLaughlin also spent three seasons with the Washington Generals/Harlem Globetrotters, where he served as the Generals’ team captain as he played in more than 50 countries throughout the world.
What they say about Mike McLaughlin...
“There are a number of great college basketball coaches in the city of Philadelphia, and Mike McLaughlin certainly falls into that category -- his record at Holy Family speaks for itself. In my dealings with him, I have found him to be personable, passionate about basketball, and someone with outstanding leadership qualities.” - Fran Dunphy, former head men’s basketball coach at Penn, now head men’s coach at Temple
“Mike McLaughlin is a terrific hire for Penn.Heis a great guy who happens to be avery successful coach. Hispersonality and passion for the game will go a long waywith this program." - Kelly Greenberg, former head women’s basketball coach at Penn, now head women’s coach at Boston University
“Mike is a great choice for the University of Pennsylvania as its next women's basketball coach. He has great respect for the Philadelphia Big 5, The Palestra, and the history of Penn Basketball. He will have the opportunity to work for people like Steve Bilsky and Mary DiStanislao, who care about women's basketball and love Penn." - Joe McKeown, Father Judge graduate, long-time head women’s basketball coach at George Washington, now head women’s coach at Northwestern