Lunch, Awards, & Keynote
Date & Time
Friday, July 14, 2023, 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

The philosophy of John Cook can be summarized in two simple words: Dream Big.

When John Cook took over the reins of the Nebraska volleyball program in 2000, the challenge facing him was daunting. Cook replaced one of the sport’s legendary coaches in Terry Pettit, who won 694 matches and guided the Huskers to 18 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and six national semifinals. Cook, who left an emerging power in Wisconsin to guide the tradition-rich Husker program, had his own vision for Nebraska volleyball. He saw a program that had even more potential to grow.

His goals included consistently selling out home matches at the NU Coliseum, expanding the media exposure for his program and most importantly, continuing the tradition of athletic and academic excellence started by Pettit nearly a quarter of a century earlier. His vision catapulted the program to a new phase in 2013, as the Devaney Center underwent a $20 million renovation and became the new home for Nebraska volleyball. Moving to the Devaney Center increased the capacity crowd for Nebraska volleyball matches from 4,125 at the Coliseum to nearly 8,000 in addition to 400 standing-room-only tickets. In addition, five suites that give a private and expansive view of the action were built on the south side of the building and student seating was drastically increased.

Cook’s vision is for the Huskers to remain at the forefront of college volleyball to enhance the sport at both the local and national levels. The Huskers have done just that, reaching the NCAA Semifinals four straight years from 2015 to 2019 with two NCAA Championships (2015 and 2017) - under Cook, and leading the nation in attendance every year since 2013.

Consistent excellence has been a hallmark of Cook’s Nebraska squads. Since taking over the program in 2000, Cook has guided the Huskers to four national titles, 10 NCAA Semifinals appearances, nine Big 12 titles and three Big Ten championships. His teams have compiled a 656-98 record, owning the nation’s top winning percentages (.870) during his tenure. Cook has also excelled against ranked teams, compiling a 216-84 record. The Huskers have appeared in an NCAA Regional 28 times in the last 29 years, including 22 of 23 during Cook’s tenure.

With Cook at the helm, Nebraska has produced numerous individual honors, including five Olympians, a Honda-Broderick Cup winner, three AVCA Division I National Players of the Year, two NCAA Top Ten Award winners, two Senior CLASS Award winners, 64 AVCA All-Americans, three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans of the Year, 20 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, one Big Ten Player of the Year, six Big 12 Players of the Year and three Big 12 Co-Players of the Year. Husker volleyball players combined for 40 first-team All-Big 12 awards and 61 academic All-Big 12 certificates in Cook's tenure, while the Huskers have earned 37 All-Big Ten honors and 76 Academic All-Big Ten accolades since 2011.

With 817 career wins entering the 2023 season, Cook ranks fifth among active Division I head coaches and seventh all-time in career win percentage at .827.

Cook’s accomplishments haven’t gone unnoticed, as he is a two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year, earning the prestigious honor in 2000 and 2005, and a seven-time conference coach of the year, including his selection as Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017. He is one of only four active coaches - and one of six all-time - to be a two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year and was honored in 2008 by USA Volleyball, receiving its All-Time Great Coach Award. In 2017, Cook was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame, joining Pettit as former Husker head coaches in the hall.

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