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  • Dream Like a Champion: Wins, Losses, and Leadership the Nebraska Volleyball Way by John Cook
  • Nicole Venditte
Dream Like a Champion: Wins, Losses, and Leadership the Nebraska Volleyball Way. By John Cook with Brandon Vogel. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2017. ix + 176 pp. Photographs. $24.95 cloth.

For all coaches and people who bleed Husker red, this a great read. Across Nebraska and the country, volleyball is becoming, if not already become, the most watched female sport, growing significantly over the last few decades. The University of Nebraska at Lincoln has been a volleyball powerhouse for a long time, and Coach John Cook references how UNL is not the only college in the Great Plains that has a nationally known volleyball program. There are currently more than a handful of nationally ranked volleyball programs across the state of Nebraska, a true testament for the growing love of the sport in the region. Moreover, Cook touches on how the Huskers' roster is usually more than 40 percent Nebraska athletes. Other rosters across the state, especially of nationally ranked programs, are anywhere from 60 to 90 percent Great Plains athletes. Cook admires the special qualities that can come from a smalltown Nebraska athlete; other coaches across the state have taken notice, too. These athletes are generally family oriented, hardworking, and possess good qualities that help lead to championship cultures. That's the Nebraska way, and John Cook reveals how he understands the value these athletes can bring to his program.

Every coach has a moment when he or she questions why they do what they do. Cook visits moments like these and gives inspirational experiences that help remind coaches why we love what we do and why we continuously strive to be better for our athletes and ourselves. Some of these moments are referred to more than once throughout the book, but each reference leads to a different perspective that enhances encouragement for other coaches. Cook discusses his instances of vulnerability to which all coaches can relate, but he reminds us that these obstacles are growth opportunities for us as coaches as well as for our players.

As a coach and a family man, John Cook continues to dream of bigger things each year, knowing no two teams are alike, and it is truly inspiring for all.

Nicole Venditte
Assistant Volleyball Coach
Midland University


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