Cook Named National Coach of the Year

For the second time in six seasons, Nebraska Head Coach John Cook earned one of college volleyball's highest honors, as he was named the Tachikara/AVCA Division I National Coach of the Year Thursday morning.

John Cook has guided Nebraska to a 32-1 record and the school's third national semifinal appearance in six years. He has led Nebraska to the school's first national semifinal appearance since 2001, while capturing the Big 12 title with a 19-1 mark. Nebraska, which has been ranked No. 1 the entire season, has played 13 matches against nationally ranked teams and has compiled a 5-0 mark against teams in the top five.

After running a 5-1 offense in 2004, the Huskers made the switch to a 6-2 offense and are ranked in the top eight nationally in blocking (4.10, 1st), hitting percentage (.324, fourth), kills per game (17.13, fourth) and assists per game (15.68, eighth) entering tonight's semifinal against No. 11 Santa Clara. Five players average more than two kills per game, while NU's team hitting percentage is the second-highest in school history and highest since 1986.

Cook played an instrumental role in getting the AVCA/NACWAA College Volleyball Showcase to Omaha, where it drew two crowds of over 10,000 per game. Omaha, with strong backing from Nebraska, hosted a NCAA Division I Tournament regional and the crowds averaged 14,804 per night, including an NCAA volleyball postseason record attendance of 15,119 fans in the Elite Eight round.

"It is a reflection of Nebraska volleyball and the program, and not about one person or one player." Cook said. "I know this award is based on what we did at the AVCA Showcase and Regionals. We really raised the bar for volleyball in this country and that is rewarding. It was also exciting to see how many former players who are in coaching here at this banquet. That shows we are doing a great job of providing a positive experience to players, and they are staying in volleyball and giving back to the sport of volleyball."

Cook earned the Tachikara/AVCA Division I National Coach of the Year award also in 2000 during the Huskers last NCAA Division national championship season. He holds a 347-85 overall record, including a 186-12 record in six years at Nebraska. Cook has been honored as Big 12 Coach of the Year twice, and Big Ten Co-Coach of the Year once during his tenure at Wisconsin. He led the Badgers from 1992-1998 with a 161-73 record.

With Cook at the helm of the Nebraska volleyball program, the Huskers have produced one Olympian, one AVCA Division I National Player of the Year, one NCAA Top Eight Award winner, one AVCA Division I National Freshman of the Year, one Honda Award winner, 17 AVCA All-Americans, one CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year, seven CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, three Big 12 Players of the Year and three Big 12 Co-Players of the Year.

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