By Randy York
Wednesday was a day for John Cook to focus on world-class players he's coached, the world-class facility that he's honored to have input on design, and world-class support that came to him well beyond the game itself. Yes, 400 Husker donors and fans gave Nebraska's head volleyball coach a standing ovation before he addressed the monthly Huskers Athletic Fund Luncheon at Lincoln's Downtown Embassy Suites Hotel. Cook, one of volleyball's foremost competitors, has persevered through a tough personal week, but found the composure to reinforce all the positive points he wanted to share with Husker fans.
He began his speech thanking Paul Meyers and his staff for reorganizing Husker booster clubs into a series of luncheons that maximize focus, content and communication. He then told Big Red fans something few in the room knew anything about ... the 2011 Volleyball World Cup that is just now beginning in Japan. Two players Cook coached - Nancy Metcalf and Jordan Larson - are competing in Japan as members of the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team. "It's 10 matches in 12 days and in the world of volleyball, winning a World Cup medal makes you an automatic Olympic qualifier," Cook said. "I remember when I was coaching the USA men, and we played in front of more than 24,000 people in Japan. That's how big it is, so hopefully they'll come back with a medal and qualify for the Olympics next summer."