In his first two years at Wisconsin, Kelly Sheffield has brought the Badger volleyball program back to national prominence. He has led UW to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, including a berth in the 2013 national championship match in his first season.
In his second year, the Badgers won the 2014 Big Ten Conference title with a 19-1 mark with Sheffield being named the Big Ten Coach of the Year. Wisconsin nearly swept the year-end conference awards, picking up Player of the Year, Setter of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors. UW also advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament.
Wisconsin has made tremendous improvements under Sheffield, going 28-10 in his first season, an 11-win improvement from 2012. The Badgers improved to 31-3 in 2014, setting a school record for highest winning percentage. UW has also been consistently ranked among the top teams in the nation, ending the 2013 season ranked second and the 2014 season ranked fourth.
"The goal is to compete for Big Ten championships--as it should be at Wisconsin," said Sheffield. "If you are competing for Big Ten championships, that puts you in the top echelon of teams in the country, and that's where we want to be. But there's also a clear understanding that you have to immerse yourself in the process of getting better--that's where the daily focus has to be."
"The goal is to compete for Big Ten championships - as it should be at Wisconsin. If you are competing for Big Ten championships, that puts you in the top echelon of teams in the country, and that's where we want to be."
NCAA tournament in first season In Sheffield's first season, the Badgers started to get some attention, going 11-1 during the non-conference season and winning three tournaments.
Wisconsin went 12-8 in the Big Ten, tying for fourth place, a five-place improvement from 2012. The Badgers ended the regular season ranked 13th in the national poll.
UW saved its best for last, qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. The Badgers hosted first and second round matches, winning both matches by 3-0 scores to advance to NCAA Regional play. Wisconsin won both matches at the regional to qualify for its second national semifinal in program history.
The Badgers shocked No. 1 Texas at the national championship, upsetting the defending NCAA champions in the semifinals before falling to second-seeded Penn State in the all-Big Ten final.
Sheffield was named the Volleyball Magazine National Coach of the Year for his leadership.
Sheffield's athletes also picked up numerous honors in his first season with Lauren Carlini earning second team AVCA All-America honors. She was also named the Big Ten and AVCA Northeast Regional Freshman of the Year. Carlini was named to the 2013 All-Big Ten team and was joined on the all-region team by junior Ellen Chapman. Carlini and Haleigh Nelson were recognized on the Big Ten All-Freshman team.
Carlini and junior Deme Morales were named to the NCAA championship all-tournament team while the duo was also honored on the regional all-tournament team along with Dominique Thompson and Chapman.
The Kelly Sheffield File
· 2014 AVCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year
· 2014 Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year
· 2013 Volleyball Magazine National Coach of the Year
· 2012 AVCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year
· 2012 Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year
· 2011 Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year
· 2010 AVCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year
· 2010 Atlantic 10 Conference Coach of the Year
· 2006 America East Conference Coach of the Year
· 2004 America East Conference Coach of the Year
· 2014 Big Ten
· 2009, '10, '11, '12 Atlantic 10 Regular Season
· 2009, '10, '11, '12 Atlantic 10 Tournament
· 2004, '05, '06 America East Regular Season
· 2004, '06, '07 America East Tournament
· Lauren Carlini (Wisconsin) - 2014 First Team; 2013 Second Team
· Taylor Morey (Wisconsin) - 2014 Second Team
· Courtney Thomas (Wisconsin) - 2014 Second Team
· Haleigh Nelson (Wisconsin) - 2014 Honorable Mention
High expectations in second season With most of his team returning in 2014, the Badgers had high expectations in Sheffield's second season. Wisconsin started the year ranked sixth in the national poll, remaining among the top-six teams all season long.
UW went 9-1 during the non-conference season with its only loss coming at No. 5 Washington.
The Badgers opened the Big Ten season with a loss to No. 3 Penn State in a rematch of the 2013 NCAA championship match. But Wisconsin went on a 19-match winning streak to claim its fifth Big Ten championship in program history with a 19-1 record. Sheffield was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and UW nearly swept the end-of-the-year awards with Carlini being named the Big Ten Player of the Year and Setter of the Year as well as Taylor Morey earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors. Carlini, Morey and senior Courtney Thomas earned first-team All-Big Ten honors while Haleigh Nelson and Dominique Thompson were honorable mention All-Big Ten picks.
Wisconsin again hosted first and second-round NCAA matches, sweeping through its opponents and advancing to the NCAA Regional. The Badgers edged Big Ten-foe Ohio State Ohio State in the regional semifinals before falling to eventual national champion Penn State in the regional final.
UW landed a school-record five players on the AVCA all-region team with Sheffield being named the regional coach of the year. Carlini became just the second player to earned first-team All-America honors. Thomas and Morey were named to the second team while Nelson and Thompson picked up honorable mention All-America honors.
Taking over Badger program Sheffield became the 10th head volleyball coach in Wisconsin history in December 2012 after five years as head coach at the University of Dayton.
After taking over the Dayton program in 2008, Sheffield molded the Flyers into one of the nation's elite programs. Dayton won four straight Atlantic 10 Conference championships and made five straight NCAA tournament appearances. The Flyers won the 2012 A10 title with a perfect 14-0 mark for the first time in program history, claimed the conference tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Dayton ended the season ranked 19th in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) top-25 poll after being ranked all season long.
Sheffield was named the 2012 AVCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year as well as the A10 Coach of the Year. He coached the last four conference players of the year in Rachel Krabacher (2011 and 2012) and Lindsay Fletemier (2009 and 2010) as well as the last three setters of the year in Samantha Selsky (2011 and 2012) and Jessica Yanz (2010).
He also coached six athletes who have earned 12 All-America honors, including 2012 second-team honoree Selsky, and 32 first-team all-conference award winners. He also had two athletes named to the USA Volleyball A2 team while three athletes have played professionally.
"What impressed me the most about Kelly is his ability to develop leadership qualities in his student athletes and his understanding of the demands, both athletically and academically, placed on his team," said Alvarez. "I think our fans will be very impressed with the level of play that he'll bring to Wisconsin."
Sheffield was 131-33 (.799) in five years at Dayton, including a 68-4 (.944) mark in Atlantic 10 play. He is 273-112 (.709) in 12 seasons as a head coach.
Academics important part of career Academics are equally important to Sheffield as seven Badgers earned Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2014 and five were recognized in 2013. In addition, Carlini was named an Academic All-District selection by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
His Flyer program earned the AVCA's Team Academic Award, presented to teams maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average, for four seasons. He also had seven Academic All-Atlantic 10 honorees as the conference office selects just seven recipients every year.
Off-the-court involvement Sheffield is currently serving on the AVCA's Board of Directors as the chair of the awards and Division I All-America committee. He also communicates relative rules and regulation for the association's awards and reviews proposals for new awards programs.
Sheffield was one of nine members of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Rules Committee from 2004-07, and was chair of the committee in 2006-07. While at the University of Albany, he also represented the America East Conference on the Division I Head Coaches' Committee.
Head coaching career began at Albany A native of Muncie, Ind., Sheffield served as the head coach at Albany from 2001-07. A two-time America East Coach of the Year, Sheffield led the Great Danes to three trips to the NCAA Tournament including a second-round appearance in 2007. Albany also won back-to-back conference tournament championships under Sheffield.
Sheffield mentored the first player in NCAA history to win a conference player of the year and setter of the year award for three consecutive seasons. That talent helped his 2006 squad to become the first team in school history in any sport to host an NCAA tournament contest.
Sheffield's first team at Albany was just 4-20 while he finished with a seven-year record of 142-79 (.643), including four 20-win seasons.
He also spent one season as the top assistant at Clemson University and from 1998-2000, Sheffield was a first assistant coach at the University of Virginia, aiding the Cavaliers to their first two appearances in the NCAA Tournament. Prior to Virginia, Sheffield served as an assistant at the University of Houston in 1997 when the Cougars captured their seventh consecutive NCAA berth and won the Conference USA Tournament.
He also has extensive experience coaching junior volleyball teams, serving as the head coach of the Houston Juniors from 1997-98 and Munciana (Ind.) Volleyball Club from 1989-97. Sheffield began his coaching career at Muncie Burris High School where he was a varsity assistant for a squad that won two state championships and a national championship.
Sheffield earned his bachelor's degree in general studies from Ball State University in 2001 after taking several years off to coach. He has also worked as an evaluator and court coach for USA Volleyball Junior National Team Tryouts.
Sheffield and his wife Cathy are the parents of two daughters--Lexi (4) and Reagan (2). Cathy (Arnette) lettered for two seasons each at Villanova and Virginia as a setter and defensive specialist.
The Sheffield family - Kelly, Lexi, Cathy and Reagan