Wisconsin volleyball coach Kelly Sheffield shifts mindset on matches at the Kohl Center
Wisconsin volleyball is getting a special night this fall while coming off the first national championship in program history.
Earlier in the week, the Badgers announced they would play a non-conference game against Florida inside the Kohl Center. The Kohl Center traditionally seats a little over 17,000 fans for basketball games while the Wisconsin Field House has a capacity of around 7,500 for volleyball.
Until recently, head coach Kelly Sheffield had been against playing matches in the Kohl Center. But in an interview with Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Sheffield admitted this provides a great opportunity for the Badgers to help spotlight volleyball with TV coverage.
“But then we started getting into the fight for TV (coverage) and I’ve been thinking about a lot of things differently,” Sheffield explained. “And I’ve been anti-Big Ten tournament, but now I am thinking we should be doing it that way.
“I’ve been against doing something at the Kohl Center. But now I’m thinking maybe we should be stretching this out and getting it on TV.”
Sheffield also believes it is important for the Wisconsin faithful to show up for the game against Florida on Sept. 16. He wants the Badgers faithful to pack out the Kohl Center and make a run at the attendance record for a regular-season volleyball match. (That record is 14,022 fans set in 2018 for a match between Nebraska and Creighton in Omaha.)
“It is too easy to watch things on TV now,” Sheffield said. “So how do we create experiences for the players and for the fans?
“I have no interest in going there in front of 9,000 people. So, the question is: Can we pack it? And can we set a record? I think that is important to set a regular-season attendance record.”
After a dominant run of 3 straight trips to the national semifinals, 1 national runner-up finish, a national championship in 2022 and winning the B1G 3 years running, the match at the Kohl Center should be a great opportunity to highlight one of the best programs in the sport. Hopefully the Badger fans show out in a big way.