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Wisconsin volleyball: Brittany Dildine named AVCA Assistant Coach of the Year

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Also Wisconsin’s recruiting coordinator, Dildine is in her ninth season on the bench with the Badgers.

Tom Lynn

On Thursday, the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) named Wisconsin Badgers assistant coach Brittany Dildine the top assistant coach in the nation. Dildine is in her ninth year as the Badgers’ recruiting coordinator and on-court assistant. She specializes in coaching the UW’s back-row defenders and passers.

“This award represents much more than how I assist in a program,” said Dildine. “It represents the group of us that believe in the way we win, by investing in the people you work with, assisting them reach whatever dreams they have in their lives as they are more than just volleyball players. They are young women that want to make a difference in the world. Of course, we couldn’t do our job if it wasn’t for the players. It is through their dreams in which I thrive.”

Dildine has coached three UW liberos to All-America and All-Big Ten honors. In 2014, junior Taylor Morey led the conference with 5.12 digs per set, earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and second-team All-America honors. Morey also earned first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2014 and honorable mention All-America honors in 2015. Dildine also assisted Lauren Barnes to second-team All-America honors in 2020 and 2021, and Tiffany Clark to honorable mention All-America honors in 2018. Barnes also earned second-team All-Big Ten accolades in 2020 and 2021.

On the recruiting trail, Dildine has brought in six top-20 classes to Wisconsin, including the No. 2 class in 2017, the No. 3 class in 2015 and the No. 4 class in 2020. Dildine has aided the Badgers to nine straight NCAA tournament appearances, advancing to NCAA national semifinals four times, and four Big Ten Conference championships.

“There is nothing more important than the gift of belief — the belief in your players, the belief in the head coach and their vision,” added Dildine. “None of that is possible without the belief in oneself which was discovered all because my former coaches believed in me. I have had nothing but tremendous examples of what it means to be a good assistant coach. I’m grateful to the dedicated group of people I work with on a day-to-day basis at the University of Wisconsin.”

Dildine has been coaching on Kelly Sheffield’s staff for 13 seasons (nine at Wisconsin, four at Dayton) after starring at Purdue on the volleyball court and playing for the basketball team. She guided the volleyball team to two NCAA regional appearances as a libero/outside hitter and helped the basketball team to an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 2007.

“For 13 years I’ve worked with Brittany,” Sheffield said. “I’ve watched her growth and I’ve seen her work ethic. She is passionate about this sport and the players she gets to work with, and puts her entire soul into her people. She teaches, inspires, learns, is a servant leader, and she brings those attributes every single day.”