The Sower Logo

Home News Boldt sets Bulldog volleyball team on track toward championship

Photo description: The Bulldog volleyball team celebrates after a victory over Dakota Wesleyan

Photo credit: Esther Molina

Caleb Lemon

Sower Staff


The Great Plains Athletic Conference has always been a tough conference for volleyball. Often, teams that are ranked nationally aren’t even the best in the GPAC.

Since 2000, the Concordia volleyball program has had 12 winning seasons, nine losing seasons and one season finishing at .500. History was made in 2015 when the program made it to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Tournament for the first time in school history.

Concordia volleyball made a change in coaching staff after the 2017 season in hopes of taking the program to the next level and competing for an NAIA national championship. The decision to bring in Ben Boldt came after two consecutive losses following the historic 2015 season.

Boldt had been an assistant coach under John Cook at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which won a NCAA national title in 2006 and has won five national championships in all.

Boldt also was an assistant coach at other major NCAA Division I schools, such as Alabama and Arkansas, before coming to Concordia.

                     Ben Boldt

Boldt said he never thought of himself as a head

coach but is happy with where his career path has taken him and his family.

“We never really expected to get into coaching when we first did, but we developed a passion for it and found out that we can really make an impact in people’s lives through volleyball,” Boldt said. “We love that it brought us to Seward.”

Boldt’s record at Concordia so far is 120-48. His 100th win came on Nov. 9 of 2022 in a five-set victory against No. 3 Midland in the GPAC Tournament semifinals.

Players said Boldt always gives credit to them. Junior Rebecca Gebhardt said it is great playing for such an unselfish coach.

“Having a coach who is unselfish holds everyone else on the team to that same standard; we all love to see each other succeed,” Gebhardt said.

The volleyball team’s success isn’t just attributed to talent, but also to how close the team members are to each other.

Junior Macy McClain said the team culture is a big reason why she chose to come to Concordia in the first place and continues to come back.

“Being from Arizona, it wasn’t easy leaving my family and friends, but my teammates have made me realize that it was the best decision for me to come to Concordia,” McClain said.

In 2021, the volleyball program made history again, with its first national quarter-finals appearance.

Since Boldt has taken over as coach the program has broken many records. Most recently it was No. 1 in the NAIA for the first time in school history.

Boldt said that ranking puts pressure on players, so the coaching staff does what it can to help reduce stress.

“We want them to know their identity isn’t tied to being No. 1,” Boldt said. “We all have each other’s backs whether we win or lose.”

As postseason play approaches, it can be difficult to stay calm in big moments, but Gebhardt said her new mindset this year has helped her stay comfortable.

“I have been better this year by only thinking about one point at a time. It has helped me stay more in-the-moment in big situations,” Gebhardt said.

A GPAC title would make history for Concordia and for Boldt, as a championship is the only thing missing from his NAIA resume.

Please leave a reply. Your comment will be reviewed by the Sower editors before posting.