NU Volleyball coach John Cook speaks in Columbus (copy)

July 31, 2018 GMT

Nebraska head volleyball coach John Cook recently came to Columbus for Lakeview Community Schools’ Big Red Night, getting the attention of those from that town, Schuyler and more.

Cook took the stage following dinner and had the crowd’s attention from the moment he opened his mouth.

Cook started in front of the screen projecting the cover of his book, “Dream Like a Champion: Wins, Losses, and Leadership the Nebraska Volleyball Way,” released in September of 2017.

The slides transitioned as Cook went on for almost an hour about topics such as how he became a volleyball coach, leadership advice, how to coach millennials and what it takes to become a champion.

He used his experience from coaching Nebraska to five national championships to give advice that translated to everyday life.

One story he shared revolved around, as Cook called it, their ‘reloading year.’ He took the time to explain that others may say “rebuilding,” but he uses the term “reloading.′


“Rebuilding implies you take the year off and reloading means that you are attempting to win the championship every year,” Cook said.

Last year’s team put on a skit at the beginning of the year for the coaches. It was that skit that ended in the motto they used for the rest of the year – “Why Not Us?” Nebraska went on to win the NCAA championship because the players believed in themselves.

Cook also talked about how he started out as a football coach in California and eventually became the five-time national championship coach at Nebraska.

He gave advice on how to lead and coach millennials, stating that millennials need a flexible schedule and want to work in a family environment.

Cook even got a member of the audience involved at one point, as he put a young woman through a mental training exercise that he puts all of his players though. Each year he tells all his players to imagine if they were able to win the national championship they would be handed a million dollars, asking them, what would they do differently? This gets players to think about what they need to do, to get to the national championship.

In another section of his speech, he mentioned how much he has learned from players. He started out talking about how most coaches are standing on the sideline and getting animated, but one year, one of his players just told him to sit down.

He said earlier in his career he probably wouldn’t have listened, but he listen to this player and after he started to sit down his team went on a winning streak.

Cook left immediately after speaking, due to the weather concerns. There was no question and answer session.

Kim Wolfe, owner of the Husker Helicopter, flew Cook back to Lincoln.

Cook flew in and flew out. His words gave everyone something to chew on.

Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at