50 Days until Purdue Volleyball: Coach Dave Shondell

Coach Shondell greeting the Block Party on November 18th, 2011 after Purdue swept Ohio State 3-0 in Columbus, Ohio.

Before Dave Shondell came to Purdue on February 13th, 2003, the volleyball program only had one winning seasons within the previous nine seasons. Shondell quickly turned that around, pulled off a few upsets his first season, and within a few years, Purdue went from being the doormat of the Big Ten to a National Contender. Certainly, we can now look at Shondell's hire and consider it to be one of the best decisions made by the Athletic Department (with the help of the late Roger Blalock), but at the time is was considered quite risky.

Coach Dave Shondell came in with ZERO collegiate head coaching experience. If our athletic department pulled that off with football or basketball, there would be rioting on Memorial Mall. That wasn't the case with Shondell's hire, as the history of the volleyball program at the time caused his hire not to stir too much news (or so I would think, after all I was 11 years old when he was hired and didn't even follow Purdue sports back then).

Coach Shondell wasn't just an Average Joe that Purdue hired, as Shondell had an excellent record in Volleyball with 22 years of experience, 13 of which was spent in his hometown with Muncie Central High School. At Muncie Central, Shondell led the volleyball team to a 428-52 record, which included 4 state titles and the 2002 Championship. Other achievements at Muncie Central include a 56 game winning streak within the conference (1995-2001), leading Muncie Central as the only public school to be ranked in the Top 25 nationally every year since 1993, and having 3 of his players earn high school All-America honors during his coaching tenure. When he left Muncie Central at the end of the 2002 season, he had the 2nd highest winning percentage in the history of Indiana Girls Volleyball.

For Dave Shondell, volleyball was second nature, as his family bleeds volleyball (as the BTN video showed). His father is Dr. Don Shondell, who retired with a career record 769-280-6, the 2nd highest amount of wins in NCAA Men's Volleyball history. While he was the head coach at Ball State, he led BSU to its first NCAA Tournament in 1970, which led to 12 more tournament appearances under his tenure. During his time at BSU, he also co-founded the Midwest Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA), where he was the organizations first president and won the MIVA Coach of the Year Award eight times. When Dr. Don retired in 1998, the Shondell's continued strong in the volleyball world. While Dave was at Muncie Central, his brother, John Shondell, was head coach at a class rival high school, and their older brother, Steve Shondell, was the head coach of the Muncie Burris High School.

When Dave Shondell was hired by Purdue in 2003, he asked his brother, John, to be his assistant coach, along with Kathy Jewell, who at the time was an assistant coach at Central Michigan. Both have stayed with Coach Dave Shondell, who is going into his 10th season, the longest tenured staff in the Big Ten Conference. Meanwhile, his older brother, Steve, was hired by Ball State to be the head coach of the women's team. Despite the proximity of the 2 schools, neither programs met until the Active Ankle Challenge in 2011 in front of a sold out crowd in Holloway Gym, where Purdue won 3-1.

Though he had no collegiate head coaching experience, Purdue knew Shondell would be a perfect fit in West Lafayette to help restore a fallen program. When Shondell came to Purdue, he said it was an ideal location to build a volleyball power, as it was within easy driving distances to potential volleyball prospects. Now going into his 10th season, Shondell has shown that Purdue made the right choice. Since Shondell's arrival in West Lafayette, he has taken Purdue to the NCAA Tournament 7 out of 9 seasons, advancing to at least the 2nd round in each of those appearances (one of 12 schools to accomplish such a feat). In their 7 tournament runs, Purdue has made it to the Sweet 16 5 times (2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, & 2011) and 1 Elite Eight appearance (2010). In the last 2 seasons, Purdue has finished with a Top 15 ranking, and looks to begin the 2012 season in the Top 10.

When Shondell came to Purdue he said: "It is my hope to help build one of the elite volleyball programs in the country at Purdue. It is clear that we have all the necessary resources to develop a national contender. Building a great program is more than winning volleyball matches; it is more about providing each player with the best academic, athletic, and social experience that can be found anywhere. I believe that we are putting that kind of program in place in West Lafayette."

Coach Shondell, if you are reading this, you have certainly moved Purdue from the doormat of the Big Ten to a National Contender, and are certainly one of the best, if not the best, coach in Purdue history. The only thing between Purdue being an elite team right now is a Big Ten Title and a National Title. 2012 looks to be the year to accomplish both of those, and we'll be cheering and supporting you and the Purdue Volleyball squad on the Road to Louisville this year.

Countdown to Purdue/Northern Iowa on August 24th, 2012

40 days: Non-conference schedule preview
30 days: Big Ten schedule preview
20 days: Anna Drewry (Senior)
19 days: Bridget Powell (Freshman)
18 days: Annie Drews (Freshman)
17 days: Catherine Rebarchak (RS Junior)
16 days: Kaisley Fisher (RS Freshman)
15 days: Courtney Gosewisch (Senior)
13 days: Faye Adelaja (Freshman)
12 days: Kierra Jones (Sophomore)
11 days: Carly Cramer (RS Junior)
10 days: Katie Griffin (RS Junior)
9 days: Amanda Miller (RS Senior)
8 days: Ariel Turner (Senior)
7 days: Amanda Neill (Freshman)
6 days: Kate Workman (Freshman)
4 days: Sam Epenesa (Freshman)
3 days: Hilliary Fox (Junior)
2 days: Val Nichol (Sophomore)
1 day: Rachel Davis (RS Junior)

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