Rick McLaughlin, formerly the men's volleyball coach at Loyola Marymount, an assistant women's coach at UCSB, and the women's coach at Golden West College, was named UCSB's head men's volleyball coach in June of 2008. He is only the second head coach of the Gauchos in the last 40 years.
In his time at the helm, McLaughlin has coached 12 All-Americans and has seen the program garner 44 All-Conference selections.
Following his 13th season as UCSB's head coach, McLaughlin was named the USMC/AVCA DI-II Men's Coach of the Year and Big West Coach of the Year for the second straight year. It was his fourth career conference coach of the year honor in a season where the Gauchos went 15-5 with 13 of their wins coming against nationally ranked teams. They spent almost the entirety of the year ranked as the third-best team in the country and were top-four every week. The Gauchos defeated No. 4 UC San Diego for their first ever Big West Championship, giving the program its first conference tournament title and trip to the NCAA Tournament in 10 years. They won their 11th straight in four sets against No. 5 Pepperdine to advance to their first NCAA Tournament Semifinal since 2011.
In 2020, UCSB posted a 14-2 mark and was the No. 3 team in the country before seeing the season abbreviated due to Covid-19. The Gauchos were perfect 8-0 at home and were on an eight match win streak to finish. This feat helped McLaughlin become the first coach in the history of the program to earn both the Big West Coach of the Year award and the AVCA National Coach of the Year award.
In just his third year in Santa Barbara, McLaughlin brought the Gauchos to the brink of a National Championship in 2011. Embarking on what USA volleyball legend Karch Kiraly called "one of the greatest postseason runs in any sport," UCSB won four straight postseason matches -- including a pair of wins over No. 1 ranked USC and the first victory of the season by an away team at BYU's Smith Fieldhouse -- to advance to the NCAA Final against Ohio State. The Gauchos would ultimately fall in a five-set heartbreaker.
The 2019 season saw McLaughlin and the Gauchos post an 18-10 overall record with an appreance in the Big West Tournament Semi-Finals, after defeating CSUN in the first round.
The Gauchos put together another solid campaign behind McLaughlin in 2016, winning 20 games for just the second time since 1990 and advancing to the MPSF Semifinals at BYU via a first round win at Stanford, the first road win by any team in the MPSF Quarterfinals since 2001.
In 2014, McLaughlin led the Gauchos to a program-record 16 wins from conference play, ending the season with an 18-9 overall record (16-9 in conference). After finishing fourth in the ultra-competitive MPSF standings, UCSB hosted the first home playoff match in McLaughlin's tenure and its first overall since 2007. Despite trailing 14-7 in a do-or-die fourth set, the Gauchos rallied to claim a five-set win over No. 5 UCLA.
McLaughlin spent ample time during the 2009 offseason with USA Volleyball- first guiding the junior team to the 2009 NORCEA Pan-American Cup championship in Chiapas, Mexico before assisting with the Men's Senior National Team during their qualifications for the 2010 World Championships. Also, in 2010, McLaughlin guided the Team USA to a gold medal at the Pan American Games in Puerto Rico.
McLaughlin led the LMU program for eight years beginning in 1993 and ending in 2000 when the school dropped the program. He was named MPSF 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.
In the fall of 2001, he joined the staff of his brother Jim - a UCSB alumnus - to help rebuild the women's program at the University of Washington.
He began his collegiate coaching career under Marv Dunphy at Pepperdine, 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.
He spent one year as an assistant on Kathy Gregory's UCSB women's staff in 2005, a year in which the Gauchos reached the NCAA tournament.
In 2006, McLaughlin became head women's coach at Golden West College, where two successful years culminated in a trip to the state title game in 2007.
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 and finance in 1990. In 1999, he completed his master's degree in education at Azusa Pacific.