Ted McLaughlin served as an assistant coach on the powerhouse University of Texas at El Paso teams of the late 1970s before building a national championship program at Southern Methodist University. The Mustangs won three NCAA Division I titles during McLaughlin’s tenure.
His coaching career began in 1964 at Hope High School in Providence, Rhode Island. McLaughlin’s prize pupil was Emmitt Barry, a hammer thrower who earned numerous All-America honors at the UTEP.
McLaughlin continued to develop standout throwers as an assistant coach at Brown University and Cornell University. In 1975, he moved to UTEP as an assistant and was reunited with Barry. McLaughlin’s throwers were an integral part of the great UTEP teams of the late 1970s.
In 1979, McLaughlin accepted the head coaching position at SMU. In his second year, he guided the Mustangs to second-place finishes at the NCAA indoor and outdoor track & field championships. But his eyes were always on the top prize.
McLaughlin attained his goal in 1983 as individual winners Michael Carter (shot put) and Robert Weir (35-pound weight throw) led the Mustangs to the NCAA indoor title. SMU won its first-ever NCAA outdoor title that same year.
After a succession of top-10 finishes at the NCAA indoor and outdoor meets, McLaughlin won his third national title at the 1986 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & field Championships. Lars Nielsen won the shot put, but the 1986 team was more sprint-oriented. SMU clinched the team title with a victory in the final event, the 4x400m relay.
In his nine years at SMU, McLaughlin coached 23 NCAA individual champions and three Olympic medalists – Carter, Keith Conner (triple jump), and Kevin Robinzine (4x400m relay).