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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2018

Dream on

Robby Laughlin takes injuries in stride and begins career in game he loves
By Justin Webster, Ledger sports editor | Jul 27, 2018
Source: ROBBY LAUGHLIN After a broken wrist his junior year sidelined Laughlin, right, as a senior, he was named assistant coach and coached both first base and the catchers. This fall he will return as a graduate assistant while he earns his masters degree in Athletic Administration.

Not every student-athlete that earns a college scholarship goes to a school that plays all of their home games in the sun, before cashing in on their million dollar talent.

Most of the time, college is the path to what you’re really meant to do and that is definitely the case for Van Buren Class of 2014 alum Robby Laughlin who just graduated from Northwestern in Orange City and is currently working as a field scout and series coach for Perfect Game in Florida.

“I talked about it with my little brother [Tommy] when college coaches were filling his head with some bloated things,” shared Laughlin who continued, “Yes you are good enough to play college, but do they offer a major that you could see yourself doing for the rest of your life? If not, it’s not the place for you.”

Where does a 22-year-old get off giving life advice?

Robby is living an evolving dream because when he pulled his hamstring as a freshman and missed the majority of the season, he didn’t drop out and move home, he stuck it out and continued his studies.

It paid off when he returned to have the highlight of his career the first week of his sophomore year as he hit a pinch-hit RBI single to right field to score the game-tying run late against College of the Ozarks in Branson.

As a junior, Laughlin broke his wrist and it never healed properly which sidelined him for 2018, his senior season, which ended his career as a player since he did not want to come back for a fifth year.

Instead, Coach Wede name Laughlin an assistant coach and put him in charge of both catchers and coaching first base for a team that won both its conference and advanced to districts.


Summer job

Laughlin is in Florida coaching and scouting the best players in the country for both 11U and 16U for the Perfect Game organization.


This fall

Laughlin originally thought he wanted to work in an MLB front office and spent a summer interning with the Burlington Bees. The following summer he worked with Cal Ripken baseball in Tennessee and considered doing tournament operations and working in youth baseball for a career. Now that he has graduated with a degree from Northwestern in Sports Management, he will spend at least the next two seasons as a graduate assistant for the baseball team and work on his masters in Athletic Administration.


The beginning

Laughlin was born in Barstow, California in June of ‘96 before moving to Iowa when he was four.

His first real baseball memory came in his last year of little league when the area was super competitive in the sport.

At 5’8, Laughlin said he was never the bigger kid that dominated, but he knew he had talent to work with when he was the only freshman playing varsity for Van Buren at the time.

“That team my ninth grade year was the best I ever play on, but unfortunately we ran into Davis County,” explained Laughlin.

While he started his first two years for the Warriors and had some contact with a couple NAIA schools and community colleges in the area, the recruiting process didn’t really begin until the fall of his senior year.

“I went to a showcase held by the Waterloo Bucks and played really well,” remembers Laughlin. “I went like 5 for 7 with a few doubles and started getting calls from coaches after that.”

Laughlin said that Coach Wede at Northwestern first texted him and then sent a hand-written letter a few days later backing up his earlier sentiments and that really stuck with Robby.

“I loved my visit and leaned hard that way and then when I went to visit Culver-Stockton [College in Canton Missouri] and did not have the same experience, I told my dad I was decided on Northwestern,” explained Laughlin who added, “I’m really excited to be coaching there now, too!”


Thank you’s

Robby wanted to thank his coaches, Wede at Northwestern and Chad Scott at Van Buren. He also expressed much gratitude for his family including his mom Beckie and his father Bobby who both “drove me to all the tournaments and games, hundreds of miles in the blistering cold.”

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