LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska volleyball head coach John Cook announced on Tuesday that Tyler Hildebrand has been named the new assistant coach for the Huskers. Hildebrand replaces Chris Tamas, who accepted the head coach position at Illinois in February.
Hildebrand, who celebrates his 33rd birthday today, is in his second year as associate head coach and fifth year overall on the staff for the Long Beach State men’s volleyball program. A former All-American at Long Beach State, Hildebrand was the top assistant there from 2013-15 after a decorated playing career on the U.S. Men’s National Team. He will join the Husker program next week and could still potentially serve as a volunteer coach with the 49ers for an NCAA Tournament run in May. The 49ers are currently 15-2 and ranked No. 2 in the AVCA Coaches Poll.
Hildebrand will have a hand in coaching all positions at Nebraska, as well as recruiting. He is a former setter who has run both the offense and the blocking defense at Long Beach State.
“I want him to be involved in every part of our program,” Cook said. “Tyler is an outstanding coach, and he’s recruited a lot of the players at Long Beach State who have them in the hunt for a national title this year. He’s an extremely hard worker, evidenced by all the different teams he’s coached. I know that he has the confidence to come in here and not miss a beat with what we’ve been doing. He will instill his confidence in our players and keep going on what we’ve been building. My goal is always to find somebody that can make me a better coach, and Tyler is going to make me a better coach.”
Since concluding his collegiate playing career at Long Beach State in 2006, Hildebrand has compiled an impressive list of accomplishments both as a player and coach. Professionally, he played on the U.S. Men’s National Team from 2006-12 and was a four-time Pan American Cup champion and a World University Games bronze medalist. He later served as the setting consultant for the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2015 as they won the FIVB World Cup and earned the bronze medal in the World League. Last summer, Hildebrand coached the U.S. beach volleyball duo of Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Hildebrand also played professionally on the beach as part of the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP) from 2006-07.
Hildebrand’s wife, Kristin (Richards) Hildebrand, is a former U.S. Women’s National Team captain and recently retired from playing. She will be involved with the Husker program in a role to be determined later, similar to the role Chris and Jen Tamas served on the Husker staff as a husband-wife duo the past two years.
“Of all the coaches I’ve hired, Tyler is giving up more of what he has going on right now than anyone,” Cook said. “He’s got a Long Beach State men’s team that could win a national championship. He had a contract offer to be with the U.S. Men’s National Team that could be favored to win gold at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. And he’s also giving up his successful club program that he’s been a part of. So he’s giving up a lot to come to Nebraska. I know it was a difficult process for him to go through, but he and Kristin are really excited to come to Nebraska.”
"First and foremost I would like to thank Coach Cook for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to be a part of this historic program," Hildebrand said. "And my wife and I would like to thank everyone for the warm welcome that we have felt so far throughout this process. I'm incredibly excited and honored to join the Husker family and help continue the storied tradition and success of Nebraska volleyball. Getting to know Coach Cook over the past few weeks has given me insight into his exceptional character and leadership qualities. Both are things I look forward to being a part of and learning from. My wife and I are looking forward to the warmth and hospitality of the Lincoln community. We have heard that the Husker fan base is unlike anything in college volleyball and cannot wait to feel it in full force."
While continuing his playing career as a professional, Hildebrand was a volunteer assistant for the Long Beach State men from 2008-10. In his first stint at the Beach, Hildebrand was a volunteer assistant under head coach Alan Knipe from 2008-10. He was part of the staff that led the 49ers to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) regular-season championship and an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships in 2008. Hildebrand was in charge of blocking and defense his first two seasons and worked primarily with the offense in 2010.
He joined the staff as a full-time assistant in 2013, and in his first year he helped Long Beach State reach the MPSF finals for the first time since his senior campaign in 2006. The Beach registered its best season in five years, finishing with a 24-8 overall record. Hildebrand worked closely with starting setter Connor Olbright, who garnered second-team All-America honors from both the AVCA and Volleyball Magazine. Outside hitter Taylor Crabb was also named the AVCA National Player of the Year and was a first-team All-American.
Outside of Long Beach State, Hildebrand served as the director of The HBC Boys' Volleyball Club from 2010-16. The HBC 18's team finished among the top-five in the Open division of the Boys' Junior National Championships four straight years, including a runner-up showing in 2015.
On the international level, Hildebrand traveled with the U.S. Men's National Team to Tokyo as the squad's setting consultant for the 2015 FIVB World Cup. The U.S. went 10-1 over the two-week round robin tournament to win its first World Cup since 1985 and qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
Hildebrand started his coaching career with the Riptides Volleyball Club, where he led his teams to back-to-back gold medals in the 17-Open and 18-Open divisions at the Junior Olympics (2004-05). He saw each of his 11 graduating seniors go on to play for college programs. He also served as an assistant coach for the Golden West College women's volleyball team (2006) and for the Mater Dei High School boys' volleyball team (2007). He helped GWC to a fourth-place finish in the state tournament, while Mater Dei reached the semifinals of the CIF playoffs.
A standout student-athlete at the Beach, Hildebrand was a four-year starting setter from 2003-06. He was a three-time AVCA and Volleyball Magazine first-team All-America selection and three-time first-team All-MPSF pick. He was also tabbed the MPSF Freshman of the Year and the AVCA National Newcomer of the Year in 2003. The 49ers reached the MPSF Tournament championship match three years in a row (2004-06), and Hildebrand was a key member of the 2004 squad that advanced to the NCAA finals. As a sophomore, he garnered NCAA all-tournament honors.
Hildebrand graduated from Long Beach State with a bachelor's degree in psychology in 2006.