Invest in the Process

In April of 2016, Dartmouth men’s basketball hired Head Coach David McLaughlin. Immediately, he was tasked with revamping the men’s program. Not an easy feat to take on, but Coach McLaughlin has never believed anything comes easily without putting in the work.

Tell us a little bit about your basketball history.

I started out as Head Coach at Stonehill College, a Division II school about 20 minutes south of Boston; I was head coach there for nine years. After Stonehill, I was at Northeast University for three years as an Assistant Head Coach; we went to the NCAA tournament while I was there, and that was the first time they had been in 25 years. I left my post at Northeastern to move into the Division I ranks, which helped prepare me for my time here at Dartmouth.

You started in April of last year; what were some of the first goals you set?

I just finished out first calendar year here and I was kind of in charge of rebuilding our program; well, myself and our staff. We finished last year with some strong momentum and we’re trying to build on that in the off-season and continue to build this program in a very tough and competitive Ivy League.

How do you measure your success as a coach in the Ivy League?

I think in sports, especially college basketball, people are very results driven; they want to have seen the results yesterday. I believe there is a process  you have to go through, and I think you have to trust the process and the progress you’re making each day. It’s not going to all happen at once and the more you can get your head, your approach and your tactics, the more successful you’ll be as a team in the long run.

How do you implement this process? 

We talk about having a program that’s a work program; we work hard, we work smart, and we work together.

That might sound easy, but when you have to do that day in and day out, and maybe not see results immediately – that’s a true test of mental preparation and not allowing the process to break down.

So, where did you start? 

This past year, we were excited to invest in Just Play and it marries perfectly with our philosophy; Just Play allows you to work smart within the system and the ability to translate all of that information to the players. We are breaking down how we’re teaching things. You can access video and drills immediately. That’s big for us.

It’s like the whole Pareto principle; 20 percent of how we prepare is going to showcase 80 percent of the results. So, from the very beginning, you have to strategically decide how you’re going to prepare and with what tools; You have to decide what is going to have the most impact for your program. For us, Just Play was a perfect fit.

For more information about Coach McLaughlin and the Dartmouth Men’s Basketball team, click here. To learn more about Just Play, visit us at

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