Rich McLoughlin had one of the best views on Kiefaber Street of the mob of students celebrating the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team’s Sweet 16 berth in 2014.
A photo of the scene, which found its way to ESPN and other websites, shows McLoughlin, then a UD senior, on a roof with arms outstretched enjoying the moment. He remembers giving then UD President Dan Curran, who famously crowd-surfed among the students, a high-five.
Four years later, McLoughlin will have one of the best seats at UD Arena when the Dayton women’s team plays. He was hired June 27 to work as the strength and conditioning coach on head coach Shauna Green’s staff. It’s a new position. This is the first time the women’s team has its own coach in that position.
“Shauna wants a very personalized approach,” McLoughlin said. “If I’m able to be around the team at every single practice, every single game, be here at the offices 24/7 for these young ladies to access in terms of nutritional needs, weight-training needs, I’m here for them.”
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McLoughlin spent the previous six months at Stanford as an intern and assistant sports performance coach. Prior to that, he worked as the director of strength and conditioning at his alma mater, Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Ill.
A Chicago native, McLoughlin enrolled at Dayton as a freshman in 2010 without having ever stepped foot on campus. He knew he would be comfortable at the school because it was a catholic school like his high school. He also wanted to attend a college with a strong basketball program, and he knew about Dayton basketball because he grew up a couple doors down from Luke Fabrizius, who played for the Flyers from 2008-12.
McLoughlin averaged 13 points and eight rebounds as a senior at Saint Viator and had visions of walking on to Dayton’s team. He attended a tryout as a freshman with 60 other students as then coach Brian Gregory and his staff watched.
“It was exhausting,” McLoughlin said. “It was 2½ hours non-stop practicing. I wasn’t in shape for it as much as I thought. There were sprints at the end. It was non-stop moving.”
While he made it to the final 10, the coaches chose Mitch Asmus, who played three seasons for the Flyers before joining the club team as a senior. That club team also included McLoughlin. He said the club team twice made it to the final eight of the national tournament during his years and remains a successful program.
McLoughlin’s love of basketball and sports, in general, led him to change his major from political science to exercise science after his freshman year.
“I had aspirations of going to law school,” he said. “I quickly realized when I showed up to class with the sports section and everyone else had the political section out, I wasn’t in the right place.”
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Dayton remains the right place for him. He jumped at the chance to pursue this job when he heard about it last winter. After several weeks on the job, he described Green’s program as top-notch.
“The way Shauna organizes everything and delegates,” McLoughlin said, “it gives everybody from myself as a strength coach to the managers to the assistant coaches a feeling that everything they do has significance importance and value. It’s a very family-driven atmosphere and a community atmosphere. That’s something that was very important to me.”
The Flyers train with McLoughlin three times per week and also hold three practices a week as they get ready for a trip to Italy. They leave Aug. 5 and will play three games in Rome, Florence, and Venice before returning to Dayton on Aug. 15.
McLoughlin’s focus now is on basic strength and aerobic conditioning.
“As the season closely approaches, we will get into the specific needs of basketball,” he said. “But one of my philosophies of training basketball players is you’re not going to get into basketball shape unless you’re playing basketball. I tell them when they’re on the court, you need to be going 100 percent the entire time in order to get into that condition.”