Alderson High School, Alderson, W. Va. 1936 - 1962

A Tribute to Coach A. A. McLaughlin


History records the passing of many eras, and most certainly in our Community another era came to a close this year. Alexander Arbuckle McLaughlin, a teacher and coach at Alderson High School, retired from the ranks of active coaching after 31 years. His retirement brought to a close one of the most successful coaching careers in the State of West Virginia . To so many of his former players, students and friends, the words of another outstanding Coach so aptly apply, "Abe McLaughlin is one of the all time great Coaches of West Virginia, a credit to the coaching profession, and a fine friend."

Coach McLaughlin came to Alderson in the fall of 1936, and with him came a type of leadership and instruction that resulted in outstanding success on the gridiron. Regardless of the talent he may have had to develop, he could instill a spirit and will to win, which coupled With basic football that he taught so well, produced many fine teams , whose records attest to his abilities.

He had many fine teams here in Alderson and developed some very outstanding ball players. His 1941 team was undefeated, although there were three ties . In 1938 and again in 1943, his teams won 10 and lost only one. During one three year period in the middle 1950s, his teams lost only four games, and each of these by only one point. His 1948 team won 8 and lost only one, and that in the State Championship Game, and in 1960, he won 9 straight during regular season play, before losing again in the State Championship Game.

Coach began his athletic career at Hillsboro, where he was a standout high school athlete in football and track. They still recall a track meet in Hinton, when he and another friend from Hillsboro lacked only two points of scoring more points than all of the other fifteen teams present. After high school, Coach first attended Lynchburg College for one year, before transferring to New River State at Montgomery, where he was an outstanding player. He returned to Hillsboro after college, where he coached for five years before coming to Alderson.

In 1937 he married the former Virginia Wood. They have one son, Alex, Jr., who, like so many others, was one of Coach's pupils. While Coach will continue to teach for awhile, he is devoting his remaining time to raising sheep on his farm at Blue Sulphur.

Abe McLaughlin has retired and put away his cleats for the last time. It is almost impossible to describe the meaning of this to those who had the pleasure of playing under him. Certainly no other man in this Community has had more influence over his players, students , and friends , and commanded their respect and admiration more than Abe McLaughlin. His fine traits and characteristics were instilled in all of those who had the privilege of his guidance. The words of one of his former players best describe all of our thoughts on his retirement, "His true value and contribution to his fellow man can never be fully rewarded through material things ."


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