When the Loyola Marymount women's water polo program began in 1998, the Lions went east to get the team's first coach. Nine seasons later, Head Coach John Loughran has made the upstart program into a national power, winning five straight conference championships from 2001-2005 and appearing in the University's first NCAA National Championship game in 2004.
Entering his 10th season at the helm of the women's water polo program, Loughran has achieved unparalleled success for the Lions. In 2006, the Lions posted its winningest season in school history in terms of percentage. They went 25-5 for a percentage of 83.3. The wins have been coming often for Loughran.
In 2005 the women's water program set a school record for wins with a 30-7 overall mark on the season. The team won its fifth straight Western Water Polo Association championship and advanced to their fifth consecutive NCAA Women's Water Polo Championship.
Loughran led the program to another first with a 5-4 upset over Stanford in the NCAA Semifinals with a last second goal in regulation by Stacia Peterson in 2004. The goal and the win sent the Lions to the national championship game against USC. It was the first time LMU had a team play for a national title in more than 90 years of competition in intercollegiate sports. The Lions would fall in a heartbreaker, 10-8, to earn runner-up honors.
The recent success has been yet another step in the accolades Loughran has brought to the program. He has led the team to six straight 20-win seasons and seven straight winning campaigns. He has earned four WWPA Coach of the Year honors and has coached the five WWPA Players of the Year in Rachel Riddell (2005), Devon Wright (2004), Teresa Guidi (2003), Devon Courtney (2002) and Lucy Windes (2001). In addition, Loughran has had 14 All-Americans, 28 All-WWPA selections and 12 All-NCAA Tournament selections.
His career record reflects his success with the women's program as enters the 2007 season with a career mark of 194-82 (.703). Loughran has also led the men's water polo program to a new level of success.
Taking over the program in the 1997 season, Loughran led the Lions to its first WWPA Championship in 2001 and then three straight titles in 2003, 2004 and 2005. With the men's program he has compiled a record of 170-135 in 10 seasons. In addition, Loughran has established home "pool" advantage for the water polo programs as the women's team has gone 61-10 at the Burns Recreation and Aquatics Center.
Loughran came to Los Angeles after five years as head coach for the men's and women's water polo and men's swim teams at Queens College in Flushing, NY. He led the Queens College men's water polo team to a 75-63 overall record in five seasons. In 1995 and 1996 Queens won the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) North Division title. Queens finished each of Loughran's last two seasons ranked 15th nationally, the highest in program history.
Following the 1994 and 1995 seasons, Loughran garnered Eastern Championship co-Coach of the Year honors and received CWPA North Division Coach of the Year accolades in 1994, `95 and `96. The men's swim team at Queens won the dual meet title for the MCSC in each of Loughran's last three years.
In 1993, Loughran initiated the women's water polo club program at Queens College. Then in 1996, they posted an 8-4 record in its inaugural year of varsity competition. The following year they finished second in the New York Division of the CWPA with a 13-3 mark.
A 1990 graduate of Loyola University Chicago, he was a four-year letterwinner on the water polo and swim teams. A native of Greenwich, Conn., Loughran was a second-team High School All-American in water polo. Loughran resides in Los Angeles, Calif., with his wife, Merritt, and their two children.