By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Jimmy Laughlin has been there, done that when it comes to Tennessee Tech football. After all, he spent four seasons in the Purple and Gold, suiting up as a free safety for the Golden Eagles between 2012 and 2015.
Now Laughlin returns to Cookeville in a new role with the Tech football team as he was hired as the new Director of Football Operations and On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator.
"I'm excited to be back," Laughlin said. "Seeing all the changes in Cookeville and on campus, it's just incredible. The plans for the future and what lies ahead is really exciting. It's a very good time to be back."
He joins a Tech staff that has a lot of lifetime connections to the program, whether it's as a student-athlete or previous coach.
"Having that kind of camaraderie, it's special," Laughlin said. "Obviously, I know Coach (Chris) Grimes, Coach Sam (Williamson) and those guys, but having that kind of bond is huge. It goes a long way."
Tech head coach Dewayne Alexander is thrilled to have Laughlin back aboard. "Jimmy Laughlin is a great addition to our football program and staff," Alexander said. "Any time you can hire someone of Jimmy's character and add to the fact he is a former Golden Eagle who loves our university and our football program, it is a huge bonus.
"He is a great fit and will be a big asset to me and our staff. Recruiting and taking care of our current players will be a big part of Jimmy's job on a day-to-day basis and I can't think of anyone who will take more pride in that than him. He has already hit the ground running."
Every stop he's made along the way really has prepared Laughlin for his new role as he has fulfilled many of his job's key tasks at different places.
"I'm ready for what the job entails," he said. "I'm excited to take it on as my past experience really set me up well. I'm excited to be back on the college level and be back home."
Laughlin, a May 2016 graduate from Tech with a degree in marketing, had a solid career with the Golden Eagles, playing in 33 games and collecting 124 total tackles with five sacks, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, an interception and nine pass breakups.
After completing his degree at Tech, Laughlin joined the staff at Gardner-Webb as a graduate assistant. While there, he coached a first-team All-Big South Conference defensive back and the 2016 BSC Defensive Freshman of the Year. He helped with day-to-day operations, recruiting, gameday and administrative functions. He also helped plan the team's alumni golf tournament and organize activities for recruits and their families on on-campus visits.
During his time at GWU, Laughlin earned his master's degree in business administration in May 2019.
In 2019, Laughlin was named a football assistant coach and head freshman basketball coach at T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, S.C. In his functions there, Laughlin coordinated team travel and pre-game meals, while also overseeing fundraising activities for the program.
In February 2020, he became a sales manager for DVSport, one of the largest providers for sports replay and game film systems.
Last summer, Laughlin joined the coaching staff at Fountain Inn High School in South Carolina, serving as the team's first defensive coordinator as it started the program. He oversaw defensive backs and linebackers, while assisting with special teams. Laughlin also oversaw the administrative duties for the team.