John Cook, Nebraska volleyball

Nebraska Volleyball Coach Asks For And Is Granted Horse In Contract Negotiations

Nebraska coach John Cook is becoming sort of the John Wooden of college volleyball. After all, he and the Cornhuskers have won four national championships.

So when Cook and Nebraska were negotiating Cook's new contract, he asked for the farm. And if not an entire farm, at least a horse.

Eventually, the sides agreed to a five-year deal that will pay Cook more than a million bucks. He first thanked athletic director  Troy Dannen. Then he made his horse request known.

"I am very grateful to Troy and our administration for their support and confidence in our Husker volleyball program," Cook said in a statement. "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.

"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."

In other words, Cook wasn't horsing around. Neither was Nebraska — given that it did, indeed, deliver the horse.

As David Hookstead of Outkick wrote:

"Cook will now use a $70,000 retention bonus due at the start of July to get the horse. Sometimes, a man's passions are more important than money, and it seems like that's the situation here."