WVC assistant men’s basketball coach balances hectic schedule in second-year
MOUNT CARMEL, Ill. -- Standing at a bit of a crossroads, Wabash Valley College assistant men’s basketball coach Ian Laughlin is still considering what he wants to do in the future, though still maintaining his position as an assistant on the staff while he works on his master’s.
Originally from Olney, Ill., Laughlin is a graduate of Richland County High School. At RCHS, Laughlin played basketball and baseball. He played at a high enough level to move on to Olney Central College where he played collegiate baseball.
After attending OCC, Laughlin transferred to the University of Southern Indiana, at which he received a B.S. in History, with a minor in Secondary Education. He primarily started out coaching baseball, but also started coaching basketball in 2011, initially starting out at the junior high level coaching.
He was out of coaching for a while as he sought his teaching endorsement, which he started in 2012, lasting until 2014. Upon receiving his endorsement, Laughlin began teaching and currently resides as a high school history teacher at Oblong High School. He additionally started coaching at his alma mater, RCHS, as an assistant varsity basketball coach, freshman coach, as well as serving as the varsity baseball head coach at Oblong High School for a season in 2017. As an assistant at RCHS they won the Little Illini regular season and tournament titles, also winning the Regional Championship in 2013-14.
During the 2016-17 school year, Laughlin began reaching out to colleges, inquiring on any interest they would have in bringing him on as a staff member -- he seemed to find an opportunity at Wabash Valley.
“For a year prior to that, I was trying to get into college coaching,” coach Laughlin said. “I wrote several coaches, emailed several coaches and he was the most receptive and open to the idea and whenever I went and met with him he told me he was looking to take on another guy, so he was nice enough to let me come on staff. I loved it, had a great time with it. Just this year, I have to take care of some stuff, a little busier than I was last year.”
Why the jump to the collegiate game you may ask? Laughlin simply enjoys the business-like nature of it, with players who have the desire to improve their games. With his collegiate sports career providing him experience and understanding of what it takes to be a collegiate athlete, making it a no-brainer move for him.
“Well I’ve been involved with basketball for a long time, the desire to get to the college level is just to be around players who love it and want to get better and have the ability to get better,” coach Laughlin said. “You always want to work with talented guys, but guys who are not only going to play hard, but work hard everyday in practice and off days. The desire to work with that type of player is the primary reason. That and one of the things I enjoy the most is the recruiting piece of it. I enjoy going to watch guys and see guys play.”
He served as a full-time assistant last season under head coach Mike Carpenter, though unpaid, but found himself with little time as he sought to go back and get his master’s while still teaching history at Oblong and having two young children. Laughlin knew he would have to take a limited role this season, working remotely for the most part for coach Carpenter.
“I needed to go back and get my masters finished up, so I’m doing that right now, on top of the school thing,” coach Laughlin said. “I drive to do the masters as well so it was going to be too much. I’m going to take this year, year and a half here and get that finished up.”
He’d love to remain coaching in basketball, baseball, wherever the opportunity is after he achieves his master’s, but he’s not limiting his options in the future.
“In terms of basketball, I want to be involved with it as much as I can,” coach Laughlin spoke of his situation. “My career aspriations right now, I’d rather leave it up in the air because I don’t really know what direction I’m going, I’m doing some real estate stuff on the side and I’m also working on my administration masters to maybe get into being a high school principal or something too. But I can’t really tell you definitively what I’ll be trying to do yet.”