McLaughlin was the captain of the track team and played football at the collegiate level for the University of Virginia. He was subsequently drafted and played Guard for the Green Bay Packers, starting all eight games of the 1941 NFL season, before leaving football to fight in World War II.
After the war, McLaughlin began coaching for Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. After successful seasons coaching at the high school level, McLaughlin was named head football coach at Washington and Lee University in 1957. During his time there, he would lead the team to the National Small-College Championship in 1961 and was named National College Coach of the Year that season. In 1966, he was awarded the Sports Illustrated Silver Anniversary Award.
- . Virginia Sports Hall of Fame http://vshfm.com/hall/induct_mclaughlin.html. Retrieved 23 April 2013. Missing or empty