On Wednesday (Dec. 20), new head volleyball coach Ben Boldt chatted with Tyler Cavalli of 104.9 Max Country about his past experiences and his vision for the Bulldog volleyball program. Below is a transcript of Boldt’s responses. 104.9 Max Country is the radio home for Bulldog volleyball and Concordia University athletics.
Tyler Cavalli: Coach, congratulations on being named the new head honcho of the Bulldogs.
Ben Boldt: I appreciate it. We are definitely excited to meet the team and get this thing rolling.
TC: Now Ben is not coming alone to Concordia. He’s coming with his wife Angie Boldt. It’s very unique because you guys are both from Nebraska. You’re from Hickman and your wife is from St. Paul so this is a homecoming for both of you.
BB: It’s pretty much a no-brainer for us. You see Hickman, Nebraska. You see St. Paul, Nebraska. Seward is right smack dab in the middle of it so we are absolutely thrilled to get going. The volleyball in the area is something we’re pretty comfortable with in terms of knowing everybody and immersing ourselves in the culture. From a Midwest blue collar type of standpoint, we couldn’t be happier.
TC: You both come from NCAA Division III Hendrix College which is located in Arkansas. What drew you to Concordia?
BB: No. 1, the location is awesome. No. 2, the volleyball talent in the area is amazing. It’s something that we can absolutely draw from and recruit to. I was talking to other GPAC coaches. They had so many great things to say about the facilities at Concordia and the team in general. I’m really excited to tap into that. For volleyball in the state, it starts with the Huskers. That’s how we built our foundation and that’s how we’re going to try to run our program, based off that foundation. We are excited about that fact that players in the area know that system and believe in that system and are ready to hit the ground running.
TC: Coach, what kinds of challenges do you face with Concordia? They took a step back last year but they do bring back some young talent and some more seasoned players to next year’s team.
BB: You have to look at the conference we’re in. I coached in the Big Ten for a number of years. The GPAC is pretty much the Big Ten of the NAIA. I’m looking at the teams that we’re playing. It’s No. 1, No. 2, No. 4, No. 8, receiving votes. That’s definitely a challenge, but we play volleyball so we can play the best. When you’re successful you want to be playing the best. That’s something that I think is exciting about this position. The players that we have returning, I’m pretty excited about. I actually haven’t really seen them play yet. From what I’ve heard, we have a lot of good athletes. I’m excited to teach them what I know. For the kids that buy into it and are ready to roll – which it sounds like everybody is – I think we can really make some strides.
TC: Coach, you’ve had several stops at different colleges. What have you learned from your other previous stops. In one of those you were part of the volleyball championship team under Coach (John) Cook that won in 2006. What have you learned from all these different stops?
BB: There are certain challenges and differences, I should say. Nebraska is a DI program. They have 12 to 14 players. Same thing with Arkansas, Iowa and Alabama. What I’ve learned is just a foundation of training, principles and philosophies that are implemented. That’s what we’re going to try to implement here at Concordia. It’s on a little larger scale. We have more players. We’re not working with full scholarships. I’ve worked with teams that have had full scholarships and I’ve worked with teams that don’t offer any athletic scholarships. We’re pretty excited to get back into a game where we can help out some players athletically and really give a commitment to them. Philosophically, it’s not going to be any different. We’re going to get in there, see what we have to work with and move with some urgency.
TC: This is somewhat of a new role for you. You guys are flip-flopping roles. Angie was the head coach at Hendrix College. You were her assistant. You guys had a lot of success down there. Now you’ll be the head coach and she’ll be an assistant. How much persuading did you have to do to say hey, ‘Can I be the head coach this time?’
BB: That’s a great question. I love being on the road. I love recruiting and all that kind of stuff. It just seemed to fit a little bit more. Angie is absolutely phenomenal in what she does. It’s great for our dynamic for her to tell me what to do and I’m going to go out and do it. I’m more the type to get out there and be the voice and Angie is more of the person behind the scenes. She loves to interact with the players and really get to know them. I think that dynamic is going to be good for us.
TC: What about the recruiting aspect of things? Do you plan on recruiting heavily in Nebraska? Do you plan on branching out into the Midwest to other places you’ve been? What’s your game plan on that? I know it’s still early.
BB: I have a clear vision to recruit in-state talent. With that being said, I’m not going to put all my eggs in one basket. One of my stops was at Iowa Western Community College, which is a JUCO in the area. You get athletes from all over at that point. We’ll definitely have a central focus in Nebraska and the surrounding areas. If you’re a good player and you want to come to Concordia, we’ll train you and we’ll recruit you. We’ll have fun along the way.
TC: Finally Coach, what does the team have to do to get to that national prominence once again?
BB: I’m looking for us to move with urgency and I’m looking for consistency. I read a book by Bill Walsh called “The Score Takes Care of Itself.” Basically, the theme of that is you make championship decisions every day, you do the right thing and you do the little things. In turn, they become the big things. The score is going to take care of itself when you take care of those things. That’s the focus right off the bat and we’re excited about building relationships with the players and really becoming a part of their lives.
Let’s do this. Go Bulldogs.