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Nebraska volleyball coach John Cook gets contract extension

Nebraska head coach John Cook smiles after the spring match against Denver on May 4 in Kearney.

After leading Nebraska volleyball to a Big Ten Conference championship and national championship match appearance last season, coach John Cook has an updated contract.

Nebraska athletic director Troy Dannen announced Wednesday morning that Nebraska has signed Cook to a new contract that covers the next five seasons.

The recently completed deal runs through January 2029, with Cook receiving an annual salary of $825,000 beginning later this week. The salary represents a $75,000 annual increase. Additionally, Cook will receive a retention bonus of $70,000.

Cook is also eligible to receive bonuses if his program meets certain levels of athletic achievement, and the contract also includes a deferred compensation agreement.

Cook, 68, is one of the most successful coaches in the history of the sport. Nebraska’s head coach since 2000, Cook has led the Huskers to four national championships, four NCAA runner-up finishes and 13 conference championships.

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“We are fortunate to have John Cook leading our volleyball program,” Dannen said in a news release. “He is the most accomplished coach in the nation and one of the top coaches in the history of American volleyball. John’s expectations are for nothing less than excellence in each and every endeavor, and his record reflects that.”

Cook’s updated contract was anticipated after Nebraska assistant coaches Jaylen Reyes and Kelly Hunter had their contracts updated in December.

The upcoming season will be Cook’s 25th season as Nebraska’s head coach.

During that time Cook has worked to take the sport to the next level, including Nebraska’s move from the NU Coliseum to the larger Devaney Sports Center where its sellout streak was able to continue with 8,000 fans per match.

The program’s vast reach was on display last fall when Nebraska had 92,003 fans attend an outdoor match at Nebraska’s football stadium — the largest crowd ever for a women’s sporting event.

“(Cook’s) influence within the department, and the leadership he brings across our 24-sport program benefits Cornhusker athletics well beyond just the sport of volleyball,” Dannen said. “John’s vision has been to establish Nebraska as a national leader in advancing and promoting the sport of volleyball, and this extension certainly represents the successful outcome of that vision.”

Cook is excited to keep the momentum going.

“I am very grateful to Troy and our administration for their support and confidence in our Husker volleyball program,” Cook said in a news release.

Cook has taken up horsemanship in recent years, and shared a story of how he plans to use his retention bonus on another horse.

“When Troy and I talked about my contract, I proposed that instead of an annual escalating salary that some coaches do, it would mean a great deal to me if the Nebraska Athletic Department would consider supporting me in purchasing a horse out in central Nebraska that I’ve had my eye on,” Cook said. “The horse, called No. 415, was born and bred at the famous Pitzer Ranch in Ericson and is a once-in-a-lifetime performance horse. He was purchased as a weanling by Mark Wray and then trained by the Wray family. Troy loved the idea and while they couldn’t specifically write that into the contract, the retention bonus will be used for No. 415.

“I am honored that Troy was supportive of my idea and it means a lot to me. We are all looking forward to what should be an exciting 2024 season.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7435 or On Twitter @LJSSportsWagner.

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