Podcast Ep. 65: In-depth with Purdue Women’s Volleyball Head Coach Dave Shondell

Dave Shondell

In this episode of “This Is Purdue,” we’re talking to Dave Shondell, Purdue University’s Art and Connie Euler Women’s Volleyball Head Coach.

From growing up immersed in volleyball with his dad and brothers, to leading teams at the high school and collegiate levels, Coach Shondell shares more about his passion for the sport and how it feels to coach athletes like Olympic gold medalist Annie Drews.

He also discusses Purdue Volleyball’s latest trip to the NCAA’s Elite Eight in 2021; what it’s like to work alongside his brother, associate head coach John Shondell; and what Boilermaker traits and training take his teams to victory again and again and again.

Listen as this two-time Big Ten Coach of the Year shares his hopes for the future, including more media coverage of women’s sports and, yes, more wins for the Purdue team!

Full Podcast Episode Transcript

Coach Dave Shondell: This is Coach Shondell and you’re listening to “This is Purdue.”

Kate Young: Hi, I’m Kate young and you are listening to, this is Purdue, the official podcast for Purdue university as a Purdue alum and Indiana native. I know firsthand about the family of students and professors who are in it together. Persistently pursuing and relentlessly rethinking, who are the next game?

Changers difference makers, ceiling breakers, innovators, who are these boiler makers join me as we feature students, faculty, and alumni taking small steps toward their giant leaps and inspiring others to do the same.

Coach Dave Shondell: I don’t think there’s a special sauce. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into. In the case of the last couple of years, some great competitors.

If there’s a special sauce, it’s how do you find young women that want to compete like crazy and want to commit themselves to a cause?

Kate Young: In this episode of This is Purdue, We’re going in depth with Dave Shondell. Purdue University’s Art and Connie Euler Women’s Volleyball Head Coach. I am so excited for all of our listeners to get to know this two-time big 10 coach of the year on a more personal level. You’ll hear more about how Coach Shondell grew up immersed in the sport of volleyball, how it feels to coach an Olympic gold medalist and what boiler maker traits and training take his teams to victory again and again and again.

Purdue is incredibly lucky to have him. And knowing how humble Coach Shondell is. He would say he’s lucky to be at Purdue.

Coach Shondell, thank you for joining us on this is Purdue. We’re so happy to have you.

Coach Dave Shondell: Well, thank you for inviting me. It’s an honor to be here with some of the guests that you’ve had on this show already.

Kate Young: Oh, thank you. Yes, we’re excited to talk to you. So you’re coming up on your 19th anniversary at Purdue. What does that mean to you?

Coach Dave Shondell: Well, it just means I’ve been very blessed that Morgan Burke took a chance on me many years ago, a high school coach out of Muncie, Indiana to come in here and run a Big Ten program. That I’ve been fortunate to have so many good people know, help our program, whether they be the athletes, our assistant coaches support staff, the fans, it’s just been a great situation.

It’s just been a blessing. Then it’s given the opportunity and then it’s gone very, very well. So excited about that.

Kate Young: Coach Shondell has a deep, rich family history with the sport of volleyball. He’s part of, one of the best-known families in American volleyball. His dad, Don Shondell coached the men’s volleyball team at ball state university for 34 years and played a huge role in promoting the sport and developing coaches across the country.

Don was a Ball State alum and joined the military after graduation. He first got a chance to coach volleyball while at an army base in the Ozarks before taking the coaching job at his alma mater. Don also served as the president of USA volleyball and was inducted into the international volleyball hall of fame in 1996.

And you’re from this volleyball dynasty family. Really? What was it like growing up, immersed in volleyball? Did you always kind of know I’m going to follow my dad’s footstep?

Coach Dave Shondell: Nah, I didn’t give a lot of thought to it. When I grew up, I was in the moment, uh, whatever I was doing and my dad was a physical education teacher and volleyball coach.

He was a professor of physical education that guy’s doctorate degree in physical education at IU of all places. But he was big at making sure we grew up doing everything, tennis track and field baseball, basketball, football, you name it, fishing, camping. We did all those things and, and he never, ever put pressure on us to pick one over the other.

He wanted us to work hard and develop the skills that athletics can bring to you. But the fact that he was the head coach at ball state, which was one of the well UCLA and ball state, the first two men volleyball programs in the country. And he started that program at ball. So I was around that program from the time I could walk and he’d throw me into those vans or they used to drive these big limousines, not like what you think of a limousine, but just these big, big, long cars.

And the players would never like to see my brother and I coming, cuz it meant less room for them, but we’d travel all over the country and those places. Cause my dad felt like it was important that we be there with him. So I certainly learned, uh, a lot about family from my dad, but also a lot about sports.

And in this case, volleyball.

Kate Young: You didn’t need to play or coach volleyball to know that Don Shondell was a special man. He has been referred to as the guiding light of volleyball in the Midwest and the father of Indiana volleyball. Don Shondell passed away in November, 2021 at age 92, after his passing, Coach Shondell wrote in part quote.

“Dad will be remembered for a long time for his efforts to promote the sport of volleyball. He’s truly a pioneer of America’s game. No college in America has produced more volleyball coaches than Ball State.”

Volleyball is truly an all in the family. Passion for the Shondells. Both of coach Shondell’s brothers, Steve and John, and his son, Kyle, also coach volleyball.

Coach Dave Shondell: I have two brothers. My older brother is the winningest coach in the history of Indiana high school sports. All sports together. He won 20, 22 state championships at Muncie Burris High School. So he really between my dad and the three guys, including now my son of fourth, and my, I have a daughter that also does a lot of coaching, but my brother Steve’s the most successful coach in our fam.

And, uh, so I, he’s an older brother, three years older than me. And so I was able to watch him operate and to have that kind of a role model growing up has been really, really important for. My younger brother, John and I neither one of my two brothers and I are a lot alike. John who coaches with me here at Purdue is very quiet.

Doesn’t like to be out there in the public. He’d rather just be in this gym, training our team. He has two daughters that are gonna be great players. He loves to train them, but we compliment each other very, very well. I’m a little more outgoing. I like all the team concepts of playing or he’s really good at breaking things down and working with individual skill work.

He spends more time in this gym so that I can be focusing on our program and recruiting and things like. And so it’s been a great connection. We don’t always agree. I don’t always like the way he operates. He doesn’t always like the way I operate, but we both know we’re in a great situation here for you.

We’re proud of what we have done with Kathy Jewel as well. And we don’t feel like we’ve gotten there yet. And I think we always feel like we’re chasing some, you know, and he mentioned we’ve been to the elite eight, the last couple of years, four times in the last 11 season. Haven’t been to the final four.

We haven’t won a big 10 championship. We haven’t won a national championship. And so we’re always chasing that. I think when you wake up with that kind of purpose, every. It can drive you. And when you’re around a bunch of people that are waking up the same way, then you walk in and you get things done.

You know, we’re, we’re not there yet. I don’t think winning a national championship or winning a big 10 championship is why I’m here, but it certainly is a big focal point, a big motivator for us to keep getting better and better all the time.

Kate Young: Coach Shondell’s son Kyle is the head coach of the men’s volleyball program at Indiana tech in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Coach Dave Shondell: Kyle’s a little bit more like me than my two brothers are. He’s pretty good talker. He has become a great recruiter. Indiana tech just started their program. He got hired and then a year later they’re gonna have their first team in their first season. So we spent the whole year out recruiting even when, across the world to get some players.

And Indiana tech is not an NCAA school. It’s an NAIA a school, but there’s lots of men’s volleyball in the NAIA level in that division. And in a short amount of time, he went from no program at all to being going the national championship two years in a row being named the national coach of the year for NAIA volleyball.

And so I’m really proud of him and how far he’s come. And it’s a hard situation for him to have a grandfather who. The kind of coach, he was known across the world and have three brothers that are been pretty successful. And now what are you gonna do? And so it’s been really relieving and I’m very proud of the fact that he’s doing so well now at Indiana Tech.

Kate Young: So clearly coach Shondell has been immersed in volleyball throughout his entire life. He began his coaching career as an assistant men’s volleyball coach at Ball State. He then went on to become the head coach at Daleville high school, and then Muncie Central high school, where he led the team to four states titles over 13 years.

He also served as program co-director and head coach of the Munciana Club for 15 years. During that time, 12 Munciana teams won USA volleyball, national championships, but how did Coach Shondell kick off his Purdue career back in 2003?

Coach Dave Shondell: Well, number one, it’s an honor. And that I was selected to come here and coach that somebody had enough belief in who I was and what I could do to take this job in another way.

It’s like a dream come true. Even though I was a high school and club coach and a high school and middle school teacher for 20, I think 22 years. My dream was always to coach division one volleyball. I thought that my attributes, my skillset was designed well for this, but when you’re teaching and coaching and helping run a club, and I was also broadcasting lots of basketball games on the radio for WLBC out of Muncie, you’re making assertive amount of money.

Usually if you’re gonna go into the college game from high school, you’re gonna go be an assisted coach somewhere that wasn’t a possibility for. But I had checked into this job four years prior when there was a coaching change and it just wasn’t the right time for me. Or maybe even for Purdue, I didn’t apply for it, but I checked into it four years later in 2002, I called, they said they would look forward to talking to me.

And so Roger Blalock, who has passed away since the former basketball player here and was the sport administrator, I met with me in New Orleans to discuss the job. And he told me at that point in time, and I forgot what your question. At that point in time, he said, you’re going to have to convince us why we’re gonna hire a high school coach to come here and take over the job at Purdue.

And so I did a lot of things that the normal coach trying to get this job didn’t think about doing cuz I had to and it worked. And I remember what the question was. So it is a dream come true to be here at Purdue, to be from this state and our family. And so many of the friends that I have in the sport of volleyball had worked.

So. To create something special in this state and for Purdue at that point in time to not have not be putting a great product on the floor, didn’t make any sense. And so we came here, my brother and Kathy jewel and myself came here with the idea. We were going to change that, and we’re going to put Purdue where it belongs and we’re going to school in this state where I’m from really needs to be.

And with the help of a lot of high school coaches and club coaches in this state and the surrounding states, we’ve been able to do pretty well.

Kate Young: What did your dad say when you got this role?

Coach Dave Shondell: I think he was happy because he knew I wanted this role. The funny story is that that spring I got hired in, I think February, maybe middle of February.

And you have a spring season in volleyball where you train and you play four different dates during the spring just to see how you’re coming along. They don’t count on your record. And the first event we had was in Ann. And we were playing teams like IUPUI, University of Indianapolis, Southern Illinois teams that are not on the who’s, who list in the sport of volleyball.

And we had kind of a makeshift group, there were some injuries and we actually had to pick up somebody off campus just to train them so we could put a team together. And we went down to this tournament, we played six games and we won two and we lost, we played eight games, we went two and six. It was a very humbling experience.

And my dad was there. As he came and watched us all the time, every chance he could be watching his kids, he was always there. He was there and he came up to me afterwards and he said, Dave, just so you know, they haven’t hired a new coach yet at Munsey central. So if you want to go back and take that job, you can.

So he wasn’t too impressed with what he had seen at that point, but he was of course joking, you know, at that point in time, it’s water over the dam. You’re not going back. It’s just how you, how are you going to move forward? And we didn’t play any more matches that spring because we didn’t feel like that was going to help us get.

We just came in here and worked and changed attitudes and tried to develop more of a winning mentality. And then that helped us when we got into that following fall, where we actually won more matches and they had won in a long time.

Kate Young: As Coach Shondell enters the 2022 season and celebrates nearly 20 years as a Boilermaker.

I asked him how these first 10 years of coaching were different from the past 10…

Coach Dave Shondell: I think what people need to understand is that every team is different. So even though like last year, we had so many returning players, but their roles weren’t the same. They were a year older. The expectations were different.

The cohesion piece is always really, really important coaches and the staff and the players have to work really hard to make everything work, accept your role for the time being, but continue to work for something bigger. And better. So I wouldn’t say that any year has been the same and I wouldn’t say the first 10, the past nine have been significantly different.

You start every season and you have goals and expectations and you try to practice every day and train every day with purpose, but yet you have to generate this comradery. That runs throughout the entire program. And if you can do that, then you have a chance to meet some of your goals and objectives. I think our name brand has improved dramatically and I don’t mean just volleyball.

Certainly it has in volleyball. What we got here in 2003, Purdue had finished last in the big 10, two years in a row. So people weren’t jumping a chance to come play at Purdue. It took some time to turn that corner. I think one of the reasons that I was hired was because I had a lot of connections in high school and club volleyball now, certainly in Indiana and the Midwest.

But what’s funny, Kate, is that the further away you get sometimes from Purdue, the more respect people have for the university, that name brand is really impressive, further away. I think that here in the state, there’s some animosity between other schools and other places, you know, and, and sometimes that brings down who you really.

It’s such a great place. And I, I just feel like right now, the university, I give Mitch Daniels a lot of credit for, I think being aggressive and being assertive and, and how he operates. I think Mike Bobinski and Morgan Burke did a phenomenal job in so many ways, but Mike was the right guy at the right time to come in and take us to a new level.

And I hope that people across the state and across America and the world see us a little bit differently now than they might have 10, 15 years.

Kate Young: So was there a moment when Coach Shondell knew that he had something special here with this Purdue volleyball program and how does he approach recruiting?

Coach Dave Shondell: We were fortunate in our first year to have some success.

The former coach, Jeff Seyer, who was an outstanding coach had recruited some pretty good players here. They just had it learned how to win. They didn’t believe they could win. And so we had to bring that mindset. In here and every program I’d gone to before that, which were all high school and club programs, I tried to generate that.

I feel like that’s a strength. I have confidence. And I can make you believe that you can do your job at a higher level than maybe you do. And I think that’s, what’s really important. But early in that first season, we beat Minnesota. We went to the final four the year before and went to the final four that year.

We beat Michigan state who was ranked in the top 15. We went to Ohio state and beat Ohio state, which they hadn’t done in St. John arena in 15 years. So those were some big, important things. And I think when a coach takes over a program, if you don’t get some things done early, you’re facing an uphill battle for a long time.

And luckily we had the talent, I hired some really good coaches and the support here was unbelievable. We were able to put a few notches in our belt early. All of a sudden that got the attention of people, including recruits and things got a little bit easier.

Kate Young: Yeah. When we talk about recruiting, how do you find the right young women that fit the Boilermaker culture?

Coach Dave Shondell: Sometimes you have to fit their culture. I know what you’re saying, but I think this program is for everybody that wants to become great and wants to be a great teammate and be committed to doing what we’re doing. We have all different kinds of characters. If I lined up, we had 21 players with our team last year, if you lined them up online, they’re all different.

They all come from different homes and different environments. And the way they operate is different, their strengths and weaknesses are all different. So it’s not that you go to these club tournaments, you walked in these convention centers where there’s 125 courts. And in one or two days, you can figure out who’s gonna fit your.

Sometimes it’s just guesswork often it’s confidence that our program can help them believe in themselves and that they will adapt to whatever the goals for that team might be. So it really isn’t about our culture, our program it’s about that team and how they’ve been able to adjust to that team. And to work together to do something special, something superior to circumstances here at Purdue.

Kate Young: If any of you listeners out there are fans of the Olympics. You may remember the name. Annie Drews, Annie played volleyball for Purdue under Coach Shondell and later went on to win a gold medal with team USA in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games. She is the first Olympic volleyball player from the state of Indiana

Coach opens up about what her Olympic gold medal win meant to him as a coach.

How did you feel as a former coach of hers watching her on that Olympic stage?

Coach Dave Shondell: It was one of the greatest moments of my life. You know, you work so hard to build a program that people can be proud of and. And that to see the, the United States win their first gold medal in the sport of volleyball for women, and to have the player that led them to that championship, to that gold medal, be a person that trained in his chin.

It was pretty special. Did she give you a call after or how? Uh, we talked, Annie’s an interesting cat and really grew up and matured. Wasn’t extremely highly recruited out of Elkhart, Indiana. Her dad was a friend of mine that we both coached together at Muncie Central. We both went to ball, stayed at the same time.

Our wives knew each other as far as Mike’s wife. And so we knew Annie and she was 6, 3, 6, 3 and a half. We started recruiter. She had a lot to learn. She was a dancer and a cheerleader growing up, but she got here and eventually understood what it was gonna take to get better. And then when she went to the USA team to train with cart karate, she had a great relationship with him as well and continued that development.

And now she’s one of the greatest names in the score of volleyball across the world. So yeah, it was pretty good moment this past summer to watch that and watch her have that kind of success.

Kate Young: Special moments like that are exactly what this podcast is all about. It made me physically feel how much love Coach Shondell has for his team and his players.

I asked Coach about which match stuck out to him from all of his years of coaching at Purdue. And it actually involved another boiler maker who also played volleyball at Purdue as a standout setter who helped the team win two big 10 conference championships….

Coach Dave Shondell: There are several I’ll just narrow it down to one.

In 2010, we are really building this program. We had some great athletes and some wonderful young women who had committed themselves to doing something really, really special. We got to the suite 16, maybe five or six times, but we hadn’t gotten beyond that. We had a good team and we hosted the first and second rounds here and we won those to go to Austin, Texas, and Gregory Jim to play the number one ranked team in the country.

The University of Florida was under. I think they may have lost one match. Good team, but we felt like they might have been a little bit overrated. And from the very beginning we told our team, if we get the 16 overall seed, Florida’s gonna have the number one overall seed. And if we take care of business in that, subregional, we’re gonna see them in the sweet round of the sweet 16.

While that happened, we went down and played a really great match. Beat Florida three zero match lasted about 70 minutes. That’s a short match. We just put on a clinic and it was one of those times, you know, sometimes. You want something so bad pressure prevents you from playing at your loving. This group, found a way to put it all together and just put on a show.

And so at university of Texas, we beat Florida in bad to alleviate the first time. That was the good news. The bad news was the next night we’re playing Texas. We may be the hottest team in the country and our star setter and all American Jack Hart tore the hamstring off her bone. In the first set, we were ahead 21 to 13.

At the time we won that set. We had to put a freshman setter in Rachel Davis who had not played Harley at all, all season. Sheer performed marvelously, but we still lost those last three games. Very, very close, but I think we’d have gone the final fool that year had Jackline Hart not torn our hamstring because we were the hottest team in the country.

Kate Young: Wow. Was Florida just totally caught off guard?

Coach Dave Shondell: I don’t know. I mean, they knew they were playing a big 10 team, their coached by Mary Wise, who is an alumni of Purdue University. One of the great players at Purdue, the winningest coach in the history of women’s volleyball for the winnings women coach in women’s volleyball is Mary Wise.

And I believe she needs to be in this hall of fame at Purdue right now. She’s not, I think she should be the next person put into the hall of fame at Purdue, because you look at the winningest coaches in any sport, gotta film. They’re probably in there hall of. Maybe she’s in Florida’s hall of fame, but I think she needs to be in this hall of fame, but I don’t think we caught ’em off guard.

I think that they probably thought they were gonna win and they had a lead in the first game and we stormed back to win that one. And then we just took care of business the rest of the night. So sure

Kate Young: Coach has experienced a lot of success and wins within the program, but he’s also faced some heartbreaking losses.

How does Coach Shondell his team cope with these?

Coach Dave Shondell: I think when you lose a match during the season, it is very comparable to life. When something goes wrong in your life, the key to success is gonna be what’s your response? How you gonna respond to that? How long is it gonna take you to get over it and move on and figure out that that’s just part of life.

Bad things are gonna happen. You know, I use an example, we lost a Michigan state, one of the weaker teams in the league this past year in our conference. And they played out their minds against us and they beat us two points in the fifth game on this court at the end of the day, that probably prevented us from hosting a regional round here.

Just everything else he tip was pretty good besides that. But we had to respond to that upset loss. And if you got high character people and you’ve got committed athletes, and you’ve got kids that, that believe in what they’re doing, it’s not hard to do. It’s a motivation, but it’s not as easy as you think, because once you lose a match or two in the big 10, you’re not sure you’re gonna beat anybody else.

Cuz the league is that good? There’s somebody else really good right around the corner waiting on you. So you’ve gotta develop all year long with your team. You’ve got to develop confidence and. In my years of coaching, both men and women, I think men have an easier time bouncing ban. That’s just sometimes whether it be society or whatever it might be, I’m not gonna try to get into the science of it.

But I know that with women, we feel it’s important to constantly build them up. Sometimes they don’t think we’re doing that, but we’re trying to, I think it’s really important that they understand, we believe in them and that we know that they can do whatever we.

Kate Young: I love that answer. How will you respond?

These Boilermakers respond with persistence, confidence and teamwork. And speaking of teamwork, the 2021 season was historic for Purdue volleyball. Coach Shondell won big 10 coach of the year honors and the team set a 15 five big 10 record while ranking as high as the number four team in the country during the season.

Oh, and they also advanced to the elite eight for the second season in a row. You’ve had two elite appearances the past two years. That’s super exciting. What makes this team different, I guess, than previous teams? What’s that like special sauce?

Coach Dave Shondell: No special sauce. I don’t think it’s a special sauce. There’s a lot of hard work.

That goes into it in the case of the last couple of years, some great competitors. That’s the one, if there’s a special sauce it’s how do you find young women that want to compete like crazy and wanna commit themselves to a cause? And they haven’t all grown up that way. Some come from programs where that’s been ingrained, others come from programs.

Well, they’ve never even. They’ve never been asked to work very hard. They’ve been such great athletes. They can do whatever they want to do. And then they come to a, a big 10, which is the best conference for college women in the world for volleyball. And they can’t be that same way, even if they came from a great program and they’ve learned how to work their tail on and to be committed and dedicated and put the time.

It has to be better now, cuz you know, when, when you’re competing against Nebraska, Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota on down the line, you have to do more. If you’re at Purdue, you’ve got to do more. That’s kind of been the theory. You know, you go back to Joe Tiller, to Gean Keady all the way back. That’s what they discovered when they were here, they had to do it differently and they had to do it better and they had to do, do more to get where they wanted to go.

Kate Young: That’s a list of absolute Purdue athletics, legends right there.

The volleyball team kicked off their 2022 season in the Tennessee classic in late August. And they’re playing in their first home games Friday, September 2nd and Saturday, September 3rd in Holloway gymnasium. And the Purdue volleyball squad was picked number 13 in the AVC pre-season coaches poll.

This marched the third consecutive season, the boiler makers have been ranked number 13 or better in the preseason predict. So what Tim per Purdue fans expect this year. And what is Coach Shondell most excited about?

Coach Dave Shondell: Every year, I’m as excited as ever. What I’m most excited about with this next season is we have a lot of players that have been waiting for their shot.

We graduated two super seniors. I mean, I guess they already graduated, but two super seniors, O tech and Newton, great players that played five years. Then we had five seniors that played a lot of volleyball. So between those seven, there weren’t a lot of room on the court, but we’ve had these great players with great talent and great energy that are, are just waiting to get their chance to play.

Great example is Meg Renner. Meg’s a six foot, one inch setter out of Iowa. That was a top 25 red crew, the catcher, and she’s waited for three years behind Hailey Bush to step on the floor and put, she’s gonna be really good. We have three outside hitters pin hitters as we. for three years, they’re gonna be seniors for three years.

They’ve shared one spot on the floor and that was just across the front row. And that’s been a challenge for them. It’s been a challenge for our coaching staff to continue to make them feel how valuable they are when they’re not playing because Caitlin Newton was filling the other spot and Newton was a bonafide all.

Now they’re gonna get their chance to really play and really shine. Mattie skimmer horn. Who’s played two rotations outta six. The last couple of seasons most likely will be. Our Liber means she’s on the force, all six rotations. So I’m excited. We’re gonna show people that we still have a volleyball program at Purdue after losing all these great players.

We’re still gonna be really hard to beat and how good we become will be determined by how these guys come in every day and practice and what they’re gonna do all summer long to get ready for the toughest conference in.

Kate Young: Purdue volleyball has played inside the halls of Holloway gymnasium since the facility’s 1982 inception, a shining example of per Gurdue’s recognition and commitment to its volleyball program.

Holloway’s original court was the first one in the country to be fully painted and lined for volleyball only unobstructed by a basketball court here’s coach Chandel on Holloway, which he says is the reason why Purdue volleyball has the best home court advantage in the big 10. When you look at all the way, it’s pretty small, but it’s such a special place.

Why do you think that the fans and the boilermaker spirit thrives in?

Coach Dave Shondell: Well, it’s a little bigger than you think it does hold about 2,500 or not in Indianapolis or not even in Fort Wayne, your hometown, where you can draw a lot of people from your community. Our community does a great job. Our average attendance is about 2,400 and that’s usually the top 10 or 12 in the country.

So we’re getting a great crowd here, but because we don’t have the ability to have this huge population in this community to draw more, it gives us that incredible. You always have about 400 students down at the end. And I think athletes at the college level love to play in front of their peers. And we had the best student crowd in the country.

I can promise you that it’s unbelievable. Feel in here and they make a lot of noise and it’s great, but the community has also come out. We sold out every single match last year. So now to get an opportunity to see this team play you pretty much have to buy a season. We have ideas of playing some used to play some matches in ma arena.

We haven’t done it for a while. COVID had a little bit to do with that, but we hope to be able to go back there. Some, but our players and our coaching staff loves to be in this gym. There’s no better home court advantage in the big 10 than Holloway.

Kate Young: And what does Coach Shondell think about the faithful Boilermaker, fans who fill Holloway?

Coach Dave Shondell: I haven’t been in a lot of different colleges. I watch him and I hear stories about things. I just can’t believe there are more loyal fans than what we have at Purdue. It’s such a loyal group and integrity is written all over this university. That’s what I like, nobody cheats at Purdue. Now you get in this world where it’s okay to cheat with, uh, portal and, and the ni L and then how can we get these people more and more money without them having to do anything?

You know, the college athletics is changing and, you know, we have to deal with it, but with integrity and do it right, because that’s the Purdue. Its I don’t think you’re gonna see Purdue give anybody $500,000 just to come out here and play basketball or play volleyball or. If we’re gonna give them $500,000, they’re gonna earn it by doing what the whole ni is designed to.

It’s not just to pass out money. So, I mean, we’re gonna see where that’s gonna go the next couple years right now. Nobody knows. But what I like about Purdue is that. People will support the program. If it’s done the right way, the programs are being run the right way, the athletes are representing the university, the way that our proud alumni base and our fans want them to do it, they’re gonna support it.

I mean, they’re gonna be all in to support your program. And, and I feel like that’s, what’s been great about us. Our attendance grows every year. The people who know a lot about our. You see, ’em all out in the community. Now, nobody used to know anything about this program. And so I think our fans are just unique in that how loyal they are and they, they continue to wanna see things done the right way.

There will be an outlier. That thinks we should be doing things differently, but I don’t think that will ever be the Purdue way.

Kate Young: I mentioned to coach that Purdue women’s basketball coach, Katie Gerald said in our, his is Purdue interview that one of her favorite memories as a student was watching the Purdue volleyball team play in Holloway with her friends.

It’s no surprise. Coach Shondell has immense respect for Coach Gearlds.

Coach Dave Shondell: Coach Katie Geralds is the right person to turn this thing around. It’s not that the program, you know, went to hell in a hand basket. Okay. It just got to where they couldn’t get as high as what I think the fans wanted for whatever reason. And I think Katie was a great choice for this job.

You know, she gets frustrated because it’s not happening fast enough or you know, that she’s dealing with some adversity. And I just told her, I said, that’s just what you’re gonna have. And you’ll feel that much better when you get there because of what you had to go through. You know, to get those wins and to win those championships.

But I think Purdue’s administration is gonna provide our coaches with whatever they need to be successful. And we have the fan base to get on board, you know, to blow other teams, even our league outta, outta the water. Because they just love this universe to me. Katie will make it happen. I guarantee that.

Kate Young: By the way, if you are interested in more athletics episodes, we have interviews with Coach Geralds, Coach Matt Painter, Coach Jeff Bram, and the legendary Coach Gene Keady, be sure to check out our past, this is purdue episodes on YouTube or wherever you get your podcast.

And speaking of those incredible boilermaker, coaches, Coach Shondell discusses what it’s like to be part of the Purdue athletics family. When we talk about the boiler maker spirit too, I know you’re really active on Twitter and you’re always kind of giving the other teams, coach just love players.

What does that mean to you between Coach Painter, Coach Geralds, you know, Coach Brohm – what does that athletics community mean to you?

Coach Dave Shondell: When you coach at the college level, you don’t get a chance to spend a lot of time with those other coaches. I mean, everybody is going a hundred miles a minute and season sometimes are at the same time.

And Jeff Brohm’s office is somewhere else. Dan Ross’s office is somewhere else. Devon Brouse’s office is somewhere else. So we’d, don’t run into each other a lot. And so sometimes the way that we can show appreciation for who they are and what they’re doing. Is through social media. Yeah. And coaching’s tough, even when you’re winning, it’s tough because then the expectations get higher.

So I think it’s important to show support, not just for the coaches, but the athletes, the administrators, the fans, everybody. And there are some people that say I’m on social media too much, but in the sport of volleyball, because the media. Doesn’t quite understand the game yet. It’s coming right now.

Volleyball’s the fastest growing sport in this country. So that’s a real positive. So certainly some media like yourself are getting on board, but social media is a way for our team to promote ourself for our athletic department to promote ourself without relying on anybody else. It’s a skill that I think that.

Developed fairly well. And so if you can do something well and it’s gonna help your program and help get fans interested to encourage other programs as well, why not do it? If you can do it the right way, but you have to be really careful on social media, cuz one mistake can burn you for a long time.

Kate Young: Yeah and it’s kind of a double edged sword, right? I’m sure when you started coaching, social media wasn’t as big as it is now…

Coach Dave Shondell: Is that an implication that I’ve been coaching a long time or that I’m old? Almost sounds like it is.

Kate Young: [Laughs] Oh no, not at all! Have you seen your players impacted by some of the social media stuff?

Coach Dave Shondell: Positively and negatively.

And that’s why we have every college athletic department has a sports psychologist department. We have some great ones here, but what we’re finding out is that we don’t have enough because social media, I think is the main cul. That everyone’s trying to compare themselves to somebody else, as opposed to just do the best they can do.

What’s right. Social media is a big deal. And I think that it’s positive because it does give kids a lot of recognition and puts them out there, which in this world, I guess, is important. It helps us build our sport that build this team. But I think that it’s also really tough on kids and whether, whether they’re in athletics or anything.

What they look like seems to be a lot more important now than it used to be. Right. And I think that it’s important that as a coach, we talk to them about that, that their teammates talk to each other about that. And just our society in general gets over that a little bit.

Kate Young: Yeah. It’s nice to see you having that positivity, shine on Twitter.

Coach Dave Shondell: I try my best. And when you have a job like this it’s easy. And when, like I said, when you’re living the dream, you know, I. I’m not going anywhere. The minute I got hired here, everybody knew I wasn’t going anywhere else. This was my, this was the job that I wanted to retire from. And sometime down the road, 5, 6, 7 years, that might happen, but it’s just a tremendous place.

And when you’re happy with yourself, it’s easy to try to encourage other

Kate Young: Purdue is definitely a tremendous place.

Coach Shondell has been known to advocate for more national media exposure for both the sport of volleyball and women’s sports overall. I asked him why this is so important to him.

Coach Dave Shondell: Well, I think it’s about education, you know, women’s sports.

I think title IX and gender equity really helped initially. And now I think that there’s lots of ways people are trying to figure out how do you get around as gender equity? Even though, you know, women’s sports in general at the college level is really blowing up and fans are coming out to watch, not as much at the pro level.

I think sometimes our female athletes themselves have to figure out they need to support these programs. If you want women’s athletics and women’s sports at the pro level to succeed, you gotta go out and support it. And I still think that men watch more sports on TV. Men go to more events. Than women.

Okay. And again, that’s, that’s our society. There’s lots of reasons why, but we can’t sit around and complain that we’re not getting good enough crowds or advertising or TV. If our women aren’t supporting those programs. And I think this is the time you’re starting to see that turn. I think the biggest reason we need to get on TV and the biggest reason we need media to be involved is to educate people don’t know enough about this sport.

Once they do they’re hook. And probably the same could be said for soccer or hockey or now women’s wrestling or anything else. Okay. I mean, I think that there’s not a lot of difference between the game. Matter of fact, I believe women’s volleyball is a little more entertaining than men’s volleyball because their rallies are longer like in tennis, people would rather see the rallies go on longer than to see a jumper for a point or a jumper in the net, which you see a little bit too.

In men’s volleyball, but men’s volleyball, as I’ve mentioned is the fastest growing sport for boys in this country. And Indiana just sanctioned. Well, it’s an emerging sport with the idea. It will be sanctioned very, very soon. That was a huge step for the sport of volleyball in our state.

Kate Young: What is a lesson that Coach Shondell as learned from all of his years of coaching? After spending just an hour, getting to know him, his answers certainly didn’t surprise me.

Coach Dave Shondell: You have to stay positive. You can’t focus on, on the negative. There’s always gonna be ne. It may not be something that happened outta nowhere. It’s just, there’s gonna be problems. And it’s gonna get, I think even get more of that as college athletics moves forward, how are you going to manage your team?

But to me, this job is all about managing your team. That’s what this job is taking care of your place, doing the right thing. When I come into practice every day, I like to go around and. With every player. I don’t wanna be involved in the first couple drills. I wanna be able to see how they’re doing and you already know that maybe somebody is not having a good day or a good week, or something’s happened in their life.

So you have to be there for them. You know, I used to be, I was kind of the dad now I’m kind of the grandfather, but I think that they believe I’m there for them. They’re gonna have bad days. You remember what was like in college, worried about everything. You’re trying to be everything and you can’t. We like this to be a kind of an Oasis.

They help come in here. They can forget about all that stuff. Just come in here and compete, play hard and try to get rid of some of the things that are bothering them. But I just think that as a coach, you’re setting the example every day. And if you’re gonna come in here and be moody, you’re setting that toll for your tee.

So sometimes you better check that a door, just like you want them to check to one and you have to come in and have energy and be positive. I think the best thing you do as a coach is you get everybody to be on the same page and believe in what, what is your purpose? What are we trying to accomplish this year?

And so every time we come in here, we have a reason for why we’re here. We’re not. Going to class for three hours and then coming in here, gonna practice and go home, see our boyfriend call tonight. That can’t be that way. You have to remind them every day, why we’re here. And then all of a sudden they understand why we’re.

You know, there is something to culture. Culture is how you respond every day, how you behave every day in this gym and what you’re doing outside the gym that has something to do with volleyball. So it’s really important. I think that the coaching staff be very positive. There are coaching staff that have been successful in the past that are not super positive.

I think in the world we’re living in. And especially in women’s college volleyball, it’s really important that they know you believe in them and that you’re there for them. And whether it’s a problem, big problem, or small problem, they can come to you and you’re going to try to help, help them get through that.

Kate Young: You’re so easy to talk to. I could just see you starting the practice kind of just chatting ….

Coach Dave Shondell: I chat too much. Yeah. Some of my coaches forgive me this when, when I get started, you know, because we’ve got some stuff to do, but I think those things are really important. I really believe those things are important.

I compare a lot of our drills to things that are going on in life. I compare where we are during the week compared to things that are going on in. And again, we’d love to win a national championship, how great it would be to have a national championship mayor hanging up in this gym. That would be awesome.

It’s not gonna change my line. It’s just not. Okay. What’s important is that when the 17 players we have that are gonna be on our roster next year, when they get done with their time here at Purdue they’re as well prepared to go out and live as they can. That’s why we’re here. I was a college athlete. I recognize that when you’re in college, you don’t know anything and you don’t know all the things that are being given to you as a college athlete until down the road.

And then you look back and you think, man, I can’t believe it. Purdue provided all those things for me. Maybe this is what the coach was really thinking about when he made us do this. So we went to his house for this, or we had that one meeting. Or whatever it might be. And so sometimes it takes a while for them to comprehend what they actually experienced while they were a college athlete.

Kate Young: Why does Coach Shondell think Purdue is unique? For him, it’s all about the people….

Coach Dave Shondell: It’s unique in a lot of ways, in comparison to a lot of the big 10 schools. There aren’t many big 10 schools that don’t have a state name. I think state name brings instant cred. Instant identification to university, if you’re Purdue or Northwestern or Rutgers, and I think are the three in our league that don’t have a state name.

First of all, you have to let people know where you are. And I think once they understand that it’s different. I think when we recruit players to Purdue, the one thing that is so impressive is number one, our facilities are great here, but more impressed than that are the people. And so when we recruit people, we want them to meet as many people as they can.

On this canvas, because it’s different. When I got here in 2003, been here for about three or four months, and you may be too young for this. I thought I was in Mayberry and Mayberry for some of the youngsters out there is where the Andy Griffith show was filmed. And everybody was just incredibly nice all the time.

And it was so laid back and I just felt like that’s where I was. And I loved that culture from where I was before, you know, raising a family and three or four different jobs, running all over the place and trying to be the best when I could all those. I came to a place where I had one job and that was to build this program and everybody was trying the best they could to help that happen.

And there was just this feeling around here. Let’s do whatever we can to help each other. And so I think that’s also really unique. Like you mentioned, Jeff Brohm cares about what goes on. He comes to these matches. Matt Painter comes to these matches. Katie Geralds comes to these matches. Dan Ross comes to these matches and we go watch their teams.

I think that happens at other places, but I think that’s, what’s unique. The people are what make Purdue different and that’s why I wanna show them our recruits as many people as possible. And let them talk to the people here at brew.

Kate Young: If you haven’t bought your volleyball tickets yet, now is the time.

Coach Dave Shondell: Myself, our staff, my family. We’re all so happy that we’re here at Purdue. I think you probably sensed that by now. And, uh, we’re looking forward to several more great seasons. This year’s gonna be a lot of fun. Everybody’s kind of like us. They graduated a lot of people in our league. Because of the COVID rule, allowing people to stick around.

So it’s gonna be an opportunity for the team that can put it together, the quickest. And again, I go back to the word cohesiveness to be successful and, and we appreciate our fans for doing what they do for us. And they won’t be disappointed with this team this fall.

Kate Young: If you’d like to watch our full video interview with coach Chandel in Holloway, head over to YouTube, YouTube dot com Slash Purdue

And good luck to the Purdue volleyball team and Coach Shondell as they head into the 2022 season.

Thanks for listening to this is Purdue. For more information on this episode, visit our website at purdue.edu/podcast. There you can head over to your favorite podcast app to subscribe and leave us a review and as always boiler up.