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New Coach in Town: Sheffield leads Badger Volleyball

By Emily Kumlien,
Published On: Jun 25 2013 05:17:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 25 2013 08:28:21 PM CDT

There's been a lot of talk about new football coach Gary Andersen, but there's also a new volleyball coach in campus. Kelly Sheffield became the 10th coach in program history back in December. It's the first time in 15 years there's been a new face for Wisconsin volleyball.

Kelly Sheffield spent the last five years in Dayton, Ohio, leading the Flyers to the NCAA Tournament each season. He inherits a Badger squad that hasn't made the the tournament since 2007.  Sheffield has more than 16 years of coaching experience. 

"You are selling dreams here, you are talking about what is possible. It's easy to connect the dots because it has been done here,"said Sheffield recently when he sat down with WISC-TV's Emily Kumlien.

Sheffield is six months into his new job as the head Badger volleyball coach and he seems to have the sales pitch down.

"Going into your first year, you dream big, then put the focus on the day-to-day stuff. We can build this program to be one of the best in the country," said Sheffield.

"There's a lot of challenges, they are awesome and gnarly.... i am fired up for those challenges; it doesn't scare me at all," said Sheffield when asked about the team's five-year absence from the NCAA Tournament.

He hopes the team's style of play will inspire the fans.

"You talked about being inspired-- they need to be inspired with the way we play and the effort we give and we are prepared going into games.  Those young girls should say that team plays with strength, teamwork, and beauty, power and grace combined-- that is what we want to be when I grow up," said Sheffield.

The Muncie Ind., native also brings to Madison his wife, Cathy, and his two little girls, Lexi, 2, and Reagan who was born in March.  The Sheffields have been married eight years.

"You have to have a supportive spouse. There is no off season when you are taking over a program. Right now, our time is spent at the Madison zoo and the children's museum. We love it,," said Sheffield.

The Madison sports community hopes Sheffield can bring back the winning tradition of Wisconsin volleyball.

"Embrace the tradition. This is just the time that I am here.  We need to do the best we can. Work hard and do it together and have fun.... people see that we are having fun and working hard and [they say]  I want to be a part of that and give parts of my Friday, Saturday and Sunday and see the Badgers kick some butt. That is the goal," said Sheffield.

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