1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



A Great Man, A Great Coach

Rick Hughes - October 26, 2014

Coach McLaughlin was one truly great coach, some of us did not realize until later in life just how great he really was. I remember many many ideas and concepts he personally explained to me. As a somewhat unsettled and uncertain youth, I thought you might enjoy a specific task which he took the time to explain to me in a supper effective way.

One day coach took me aside and told me that he wanted me to play defensive end on the left side of the line and to really help the team by doing a great job. Coach showed me exactly how to play that position. He told me every time you are on defense you must take 3 fast steps across the line of scrimmage into the enemy's backfield! He then said Rick, you must face the quarterback or the tailback. Your main job is to never ever let any running back get around you, that is how long runs are made and teams are beaten, so, I can still ear his voice, "You must never let that happen." 

Your next job is to disable and make ineffective his blockers as they come toward you. The better you do this, coach said, the easier it will be for Kenny, Jupe, and Joe to make a blocker free tackle. Never let them get around you, throw the blockers down on the ground with your bare hands. As the play develops you can yell for Kenny, Jupe, and Joe as to where the runner is going and get as many of you as possible in on the tackle. Coach told me to rush the passer, but only after I was certain the enemy was not going to do a reverse or even an end and around. He also told me never to tackle a runner with just my arms, he said to always put my shoulder and wrap your arms around the runner to get an effective tackle.

I remember one night we were playing on our field against Union. They were lined up over close to the grade school side of the field. They lined up in a single wing formation and the tailback Ronnie Bostic ran straight hard toward the other side of the field. He had the wingback, the blocking back, the pulling guard, and the right end all running as hard and fast as they could toward the far side of the field. I turned and sprinted as hard and fast as I could toward the far side of the field yelling loudly at Kenny, Jupe and Joe that Bostic and his gang was going to try to go around me and try to go a long long way! As I ran I pushed down Union blockers as they charged toward me. We reached the other side of the field and as Ronnie went to turn on the sideline Kenny, Rick, and Jupe all hit him and not surprisingly he went down, no gain, not one yard after all that effort!

That was one of many excellent plays by our hard nosed line, thanks to coach McLaughlin's superb coaching skills. That is one of the many reasons he had the best won loss record in West Virginia. I appreciate his larger than life talent much more now than I did then. It was A true lifetime privilege to play football and basketball for Abe!

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