"After undergoing a national search in looking for the best coach in the country, Lee Maes is our coach," Cook said. "Lee gives Nebraska volleyball the best opportunity to compete for national championships and continue our goal of being the best program in the USA."
Maes said the opportunity to join the Husker program was something he couldn't pass up.
"First and foremost, I'm thankful to Coach Cook and his committee for offering me this opportunity," Maes said. "I'm excited to have an opportunity to experience Nebraska Mania. It's that devout enthusiasm and commitment from the coaches, players, administration, staff, fans, boosters, and alumni which drew me to Nebraska. The support is unmatched and the challenges and expectations are as well. My mission is to offer duty and service to Coach Cook and his program with the understanding that I'm obligated to be the kind of role model that will help the student-athletes grow and prosper in a positive manner.
"Coach Cook and I share a common bond, in that, we are about being the best," Maes said. "I understand the goal is to win a National Championship. I believe I can be a positive asset and contributor toward that objective. There are many talented individuals in the program here. All of them have unique gifts. Having the gift is nothing without work. My task is to tap one's gift and make it the fruition of potential and become the person, the team who reaps the benefits of its offering. I'm looking forward to the ventured work and experiencing the culture of passion that the Husker Nation exhibits. "
Cook said Maes' involvement with the USA Volleyball program and success in helping the Golden Bears to three straight NCAA appearances – the first by California since the late 1980s – made him an ideal fit for the Husker program.
"He has extensive experience with the USA Volleyball program and has spent the last eight years coaching in the Pac-10," Cook said. "I had an opportunity to coach with him on the U.S. National A-2 Team last summer, and after that experience, I thought that he would be someone that we would pursue if we ever had an opening on our staff."
In 2004, the Golden Bears went 17-12, including wins over eventual national champion Stanford and national semifinalist USC, and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament before finishing No. 18 in the final USA Today/CSTV Coaches poll. Maes also assisted in the development of Camille Leffall, who earned second-team AVCA All-America honors in 2004. Maes was promoted to associate head coach following the 2003 season in which Cal finished 25-7 overall and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 for the first time in school history. Maes was involved in all aspects of the Golden Bear program, including on-court training and opponent scouting and recruited a total of 11 All-Pacific-10 Conference performers, including two-time All-American Mia Jerkov.
In addition to his experience in helping with California's women's volleyball program, Maes served as the Bears' head men's volleyball coach from 1997 to 2000. In his first season (1997-98), he guided Cal to the NCCVL Conference championship and a national runner-up finish at the NIRSA Collegiate Club National Championship in Austin, Texas. That season culminated in Maes being honored as coach of the year, as he helped produce a pair of first-team All-Americans and a second-team All-American. Maes' men's team recorded three consecutive top-five national finishes (1998-2000), amassing an overall record of 98-27.
For the past 11 years, Maes has accumulated extensive national and international experience with the USA Volleyball program. In May of 2004, he coached with the National A-2 Team, winning the gold medal at the 2004 U.S. Open Championships in Atlanta, Ga., where he served as an assistant to Cook. In the summer of 1998, Maes was a coach with the USA Girls Youth National Team that won the gold medal at the NORCECA Zone Championship in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. In the summer of 1999, he again coached the USA Girls Youth National Team at the World Championships in Portugal.
Maes has filled various roles with the USA national and junior high-performance programs and has led the girls' National High Performance team as head coach in training and competition for the past four years.
Maes said he was looking forward to working on a full-time basis with Cook and NU Assistant Coach Charlene Tagaloa, as he had worked with both during stints in the USA Volleyball Program.
"What excited me about working with John and Charlene was sharing their passion for this program and their goals for Nebraska volleyball," Maes said.
Prior to arriving at California, Maes spent seven seasons coaching with the Ichiban Volleyball Club, winning five medals at the Junior Olympic National Championships, including a national title in 1996. Two of his former club players, Misty May and Heather Bown, represented the United States at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. During his 15 years as a junior club coach for both boys and girls, Maes coached and trained over two dozen junior and high school All-Americans while more than 100 of his former club players have gone on to play at the collegiate level.
Most recently, Maes coached with the Golden Bear Volleyball Club. In 2003, his Golden Bear 18-Forefront team earned the 18-Open bronze medal at the Junior Olympic Championships. Maes served as the girls' varsity head coach at Lakewood (Calif.) High School from 1989 to 1997. He was also the boys' varsity coach at Edison High School in Huntington Beach for four seasons (1994-97).
A native of Long Beach, Calif., Maes graduated from Long Beach State in 1994 with a degree in broadcast journalism and geography.