LINCOLN — Terry Pettit knows a thing or two about volleyball, leadership and coaching.
Now add podcasting to the former Nebraska coach’s list of accomplishments.
Pettit launched “Inside the Coaching Mind” earlier this month. He interviews coaches and athletes in Nebraska on why volleyball is so strong in the state, from high school to the Division I level.
The AVCA hall of famer said he didn’t have any expectations going into the project, but the first two episodes — interviews with Nebraska coach John Cook and Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth — had more than 1,400 downloads as of two weeks ago.
“For us having no experience, it indicates the level of interest in volleyball in the state of Nebraska,” Pettit said. “But we haven’t really talked in terms of volleyball terms. The podcast is not about why you’d run a rotation defense or man-up defense. It’s more about leadership, team building and this phenomenon and why is it happening.”
Pettit, who coached the Huskers to their first national title in 1995, wants to keep each episode to around 30 minutes. Since his interview with Cook went for more than an hour, Pettit will publish a second part. He hasn’t released that one yet because he didn’t want the podcast to earn the reputation as Husker-centric.
The most recent installment, released Friday, features Sharon Zavala — the winningest high school coach in the state with more than 1,000 victories in 45 years at Grand Island Central Catholic — and Grand Island’s Bill Root. Pettit plans upcoming episodes with Ogallala coach Steve Morgan, Omaha Skutt’s Renee Saunders and a couple of former Husker players.
“Hardly anyone that we will be talking with I haven’t known for the past 20 years,” Pettit said. “My goal is to get them to be vulnerable and intimate about things they are passionate about.”
Pettit — who has also written books, poetry and columns since stepping away from coaching in 1999 — began working with Dave Young, the brother of former Nebraska volleyball player Barbie Young, in February to produce the podcasts. Young, whose family owns the radio station in Sidney and runs Shortcut Content, said he has known Pettit for a decade and has collaborated on other projects like Pettit’s website.
Young said he focuses on providing sound quality, editing and other technical aspects. The real magic comes from Pettit.
“He knows the questions to ask and how to dive deep into so much more than just what kind of drills are you running at practice,” Young said. “It’s way more philosophical, diving into leadership and a sense of purpose for these coaches. It’s been fun to just ride alongside and listen to these interviews as they happen.”
Pettit said he hopes to have a least eight episodes in the first season, but it could be as many as 10. New episodes will be released every other Thursday during the volleyball season and are available on most platforms including iTunes and Google Play.
After the first season, Pettit will reevaluate. He has ideas about other guests and topics but wants to remain consistent with the mission: Tell stories and provide new insights.
“I don’t know where this is going, but people are going to enjoy it,” he said. “It’s not something that is going to make money because we won’t cover all of our costs, but it’s something that was worth doing.”