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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


‘Waite’ over for Badgers’ lead man

[media-credit name=’BRYAN FAUST/Herald Photo’ align=’alignright’ width=’336′]VB-vs-Texas-046_BF[/media-credit]With Wisconsin's victory over San Diego this past weekend, the Badgers not only claimed their third straight tournament win but head coach Pete Waite added to his already impressive resume.

The win was the 450th of Waite's 19-year coaching career, making him 33rd amongst active coaches in career wins and 13th in winning percentage (.739).

"I never keep track of [records] until sports info says something about it," Waite said. "[Winning 450] means I've been around a lot of great teams, players, assistant coaches and just every[thing] that it takes to have a winning program. It also takes everybody doing a great job in their role and you'll get your wins that way."


Waite's volleyball career has come full circle as he grew up playing volleyball right in the Madison area.

"I played right here at Monona Grove High School," Waite said. "I initially started playing in seventh or eighth grade intramurals but really started loving it in high school and went from there to playing in college."

Waite left Madison to attend college at Ball State where he went on to earn All-MIVA honors his junior and senior years, and it was in college that Waite realized he wanted to coach.

"I think I've always had a little teacher/coach in me," Waite said. "I was a lifeguard growing up and taught lessons and once I was in college I started coaching clinics and camps in the summer.

"I was going to go be a teacher as far as my major. I was thinking about after college being a high school teacher and a coach. So that was part of the plan and the plan kind of changed along the way that led into the college game."

After college, Waite began his coaching career by taking a number of positions for club teams around the Midwest area before getting his first head coaching job at the college level at Northern Illinois.

Over his 11 years as the Huskies' coach, Waite compiled a record of 266-102 on his way to becoming the all-time winningest head coach in the school's history, which led him to earn the head coach spot at Wisconsin in 1999.

Over the past eight years at Wisconsin, Waite has become the winningest head coach and the only head coach in the school's history to win 100 games in the Big Ten, with a record of 184-57 (106-34 Big Ten).

"It means I've outlasted a couple of people," Waite said. "That's longevity. That's staying in there and putting in a few more years. It's nice to know. I hope I'm going to get a few more than 450 but it's enjoyable."

But for Waite, it has never been about his records. Rather, he says it's all about the players he has coached along the way.

"Some of the most rewarding parts of coaching is watching the players develop and see where they go from freshmen year to senior year," Waite said. "How they mature on the court to their techniques, their composure, their strength and to see them achieve some real highlight matches, get some great wins and really enjoy that time together."

And one thing Waite has learned over the years is that no two teams are alike.

"It's always a challenge because every team brings different pieces to the puzzle," Waite said. "You have different personalities, skills, injuries, personal lives, and it always takes a lot of thought to make it all work out right in the end.

"That's the fun part though, when it all works out. The wins come. The players progress. They mature as people and players and you get to see them move through the program."

So far the only thing missing on Waite's resume — which includes 10 conference championships between Northern Illinois and Wisconsin — is a national championship.

"It's a goal, it's one of the things I would love to do," Waite said of a national title. "It's what a lot of coaches would strive for. We're doing the best we can to put the pieces together and making a great run at the end of the season."

As Wisconsin gets ready for the Big Ten season and to make a run at that national championship, Waite has a chance to reach yet another milestone as he is just 16 wins shy of his 200th win at UW.

While the milestone is in reach for him and the Badgers this year, Waite never looks ahead and remains focused on the upcoming match at hand.

"My goal is to come out every weekend and try and win two Big Ten matches and that's as far as I look ahead," Waite said. "You probably could ask me what we are doing in two weeks and I don't even know our schedule because you really have to focus on the next match and the one the day after.

"That's as far as I look."

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