Jerritt Elliott has been a constant presence in Gregory Gym for the past 12 years. Along with swimming head coach Eddie Reese, Elliott is one of the only coaches on campus whose team has consistently performed at or above expectations.
“You just got to find a way to play just a little bit better than the other team,” Elliott said. “You just got to find a way to win. You can’t look too far ahead, you got to live in the moment.”
His record speaks for itself. Elliot holds a 266-75 record as the head coach at Texas over 11 years. Texas has finished its season in the Top 10 each of the last six seasons. The Longhorns have been to numerous NCAA tournament matches and have advanced as far as the championship match in 2009, which was lost in five sets to Penn State. In 2009, Elliott led the Longhorns to an almost undefeated season with the only loss during the regular season against Iowa State.
“Experience,” Elliott said of what aids him most as a head coach. “When I look back, to when [women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky] hired me here at 32 years old and all that I’ve learned.”
He has led Texas to five Big 12 Championships including back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012. Elliott has coached five eventual Big 12 Players of the Year, including the last four recipients which includes current sophomore outside hitter Haley Eckerman who was recently named the 2012 recipient of the award.
Elliott is also considered to be one of the best volleyball recruiters in the country. As the head coach of the Longhorns, Elliott has brought in six top-two recruiting classes which includes the 2012 and 2011 recruiting classes. Only one of Elliott’s classes was not ranked. His 2011 class, which included Eckerman and middle blocker/outside hitter Khat Bell, was the top class in the country.
What makes a good coach is the ability to push a team to victory while maintaining morals and a set of standards both on and off the field. Elliott was brought to Texas to do just that. His mission was to restore Texas Volleyball to a national name and bring home victories.
“Jerritt has strengthened and re-energized our volleyball program since his arrival,” Plonsky said when Elliott’s contract was extended. “He came to Texas at a point where the volleyball program needed to be re-seeded in every way. Jerritt and his staff have elevated our volleyball program nationally.
Though he has yet to win a national championship while at Texas, it is only a matter of time. While the head coach at Southern California, Elliott recruited classes that went on to earn national titles in 2002 and 2003 after he left for Texas. During his first year as the interim head coach with the Trojans, and his first season as a college-level head coach, Elliott posted a 13-5 conference record, the best finish by a first year coach in conference history.
“There is just so many things that go on as head coach,” Elliott said. “But the most important thing is managing players and making sure they are in a good frame of mind and making sure they are competitive.”
He has a history of cultivating phenomenal volleyball players. Elliott recruited and coached Destinee Hooker, 2012 U.S. Olympic Team member, and was constantly touted as one of the best volleyball players in the world. He has produced 12 All-Americans and 15 All-Big 12 members.
Personally, Elliott is a four time AVCA Central Region Coach of the Year, four time Big 12 Coach of the Year, and two time Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
“What I’ve learned is that you can not look ahead, you got to take it one game at a time, that is what we have been talking about with the players,” Elliott said. “You can’t look too far head, you got to live in the moment.”