NCAA Womens Volleyball

UW Athletic Hall of Fame: Pete Waite

UW Athletic Hall of Fame: Pete Waite


MADISON, Wis. – When Kelly Sheffield took over as the Wisconsin volleyball coach in 2013, one of the first visitors to his office was Pete Waite, the man he replaced.

Awkward? Nope.

On the contrary, to know Waite is to know it was totally within his character to take the highest road possible.

“He left all his recruiting stuff, his boards and folders,” Sheffield said. “He said, ‘It’s all here if you need it. If you need anything give me a call.’ His actions were going to back up his words because it’s really easy to say, ‘Hey, if you need anything then let me know.’ and not mean it. He’s somebody that means it.

“I wasn’t surprised because of what I knew of him and how he goes about things with everybody. Even with that, it was an incredible gesture.

“That’s a transition,” Sheffield said, “that doesn’t happen very much anymore.”

Most importantly, Waite left Sheffield a roster laden with talent, the type that can take you places and surprise people. The 2013 edition included freshman setter and future Olympian Lauren Carlini and ended with the Badgers reaching the NCAA title match where they fell to Penn State.

“I had a level of talent waiting here that not everyone is fortunate to have,” Sheffield said.

It’s a moment reminiscent of the time Waite inherited the 1999 team from John Cook, who left UW for Nebraska, and benefited from the work of All-American Sherisa Livingston and Co. on the way to the NCAA title match in 2000 where Wisconsin fell to the Cornhuskers.

“Cook left some good players for me,” Waite said. “I left some good players for Kelly. It’s kind of neat how that turned out for both me and Kelly.

“It’s been a blast watching the Badgers be back in the Field House, watching the fans still run (to their seats) after 30 years. It’s a great environment and Kelly and his staff keep making it better and better.”

When Sheffield took over, he had an idea that has since paid huge dividends for all parties involved. He approached Waite about doing color commentary on local radio broadcasts with play-by-play man Jon Arias. Waite waited a year before committing, believing it would give his former players time to adjust to his absence, and then took it from there.

“I think you’d be really good,” Sheffield recalled of his conversation with Waite. “You’d be doing our sport and our fan base a…

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