13-Jan-2020 / NU Athletic Communications
Former Nebraska volleyball assistant coach Tyler Hildebrand will return to the Huskers as an associate head coach, Head Coach John Cook announced on Monday.
Hildebrand, who helped coach the Huskers to an NCAA Championship in his only season at Nebraska in 2017, will replace Kayla Banwarth, who accepted the head coach position at Ole Miss in December.
Hildebrand, 35, is currently serving as the Director of Coaching for the USA Volleyball Beach National Team Program and will assume his associate head coach duties at Nebraska in August this year after the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo conclude.
From January to August, Kelly Hunter will serve as an interim assistant coach on the Husker staff. The Huskers' two-time All-American and national champion setter was a graduate assistant during the 2019 season and will become the Huskers' volunteer coach for the 2020 season once Hildebrand joins the staff this August.
Hildebrand will be the first associate head coach in Cook's tenure (2000-present). He had a remarkable season at Nebraska in 2017, helping the Huskers win the NCAA title while coaching Hunter to first-team AVCA All-America honors and outside hitters Annika Albrecht and Mikaela Foecke to second-team All-America honors. Nebraska led all Big Ten teams in opponent hitting percentage (.154) as he coordinated the Huskers' defense and game plans. His wife, former U.S. National Team captain Kristin Hildebrand, was a volunteer for the Huskers in 2017, but will not be this time around as she runs her own interior design business.
"We are so excited to be coming back to Nebraska," Hildebrand said. "Nebraska has a special place in our hearts. The 2017 season was a magical year and left a burning impression on us. Kristin and I have been all over the world, played or coached in every gym there is, and we can confidently say that there is no place like Nebraska. Being a part of Husker Nation is like nothing else in collegiate sports, and I can't wait to coach in the Devaney Center again with a full house in matches that matter with our fans behind us. The fans are such a special part of this program.
I'm so happy to get to have more time to learn from Coach Cook. One year wasn't nearly enough. He pushes me to be a better coach, and I can't say that about many people. I truly miss the challenge of coaching at Nebraska, and I look forward to learning even more from him and I am incredibly grateful to him for this opportunity. I'm always trying to live up to coach's expectations, always trying to prove to him what I can do. The best I have coached in my career, I believe, was in 2017, and I owe a lot of that to Coach Cook.
Lastly, I want to thank the administration, Bill Moos and his staff. It means a lot to Kristin, Rhett and myself to get this opportunity to come back to Nebraska."
In the interim, Hunter will join assistant coach Jaylen Reyes in coaching the beach volleyball season and taking a lead role in recruiting and the Huskers' summer camps.
"I'm beyond excited and honored to join the coaching staff at my alma mater," Hunter said. "I'm looking forward to being a part of Nebraska volleyball in a new role. Last season was a great taste of the coaching world, and I can't wait to continue on this path with the best program and staff in the nation."
"The 2017 season was one of my most enjoyable seasons as a head coach with Tyler and Kayla," Cook said. "Obviously we had great results, but Tyler made me a better coach that year. I think he has a gift for coaching in how he sees the game. He has a very positive way of challenging people, including me. That's why I reached out to him. Part of my job as head coach is to provide the best staff possible for our team. I really feel like hiring Tyler and having him join our staff gives us the best chance to be successful. I am grateful to our athletic director, Bill Moos, for his trust and confidence in helping us go in this direction. He has shown a great amount of support for Nebraska volleyball, and I am very thankful for that."
Although Hildebrand has been stationed in California directing the U.S. Beach Volleyball program for the past two years, he has served as a consultant for Cook in his spare time, following the program, watching video and offering his thoughts. With Hildebrand's first day on the job scheduled for August 10, Cook asked Hunter to take on a full-time assistant role for the next nine months.
"I'm personally very excited about that, because this will give her an opportunity to find out if coaching is her true passion," Cook said. "Kelly is one of the greatest leaders I've ever been around, so I know that she's a natural coach. Now we have the opportunity to develop her over the next nine months and lay the groundwork for her to continue her coaching career. Because she was with us this year as a grad assistant, this will be a natural transition for her with our team. She developed great relationships with our players and got off to a great start."
Hildebrand first joined the Nebraska volleyball coaching staff as an assistant in February of 2017. He came to Nebraska after five seasons on the coaching staff of the Long Beach State men's volleyball program, including two seasons as associate head coach. 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.
After concluding his collegiate playing career at Long Beach State in 2006, Hildebrand 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. In 2016, 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.
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. In 2016, Hildebrand was named the AVCA Division I-II Men's National Assistant Coach of the Year after leading the 49ers to one of their best seasons in school history.
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.
The Huskers begin their beach volleyball season in February, and Hunter will coach the team along with Reyes.
Hunter was named a first-team AVCA All-American, the Big Ten Setter of the Year and an All-Big Ten selection for the second time in her career following her 2017 senior season. She received numerous honors from volleyball publications, including National Player of the Year and All-America first-team honors from PrepVolleyball.com and VolleyMob.com. Hunter was also named co-Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championship with teammate Mikaela Foecke after the Huskers beat Florida in the national title match in 2017.
Hunter earned CoSIDA Academic All-District first-team accolades and was named a semifinalist for the Senior CLASS Award. She ended her career with 4,125 assists, the second-most in Husker history, and she totaled 699 career postseason assists, the highest total in school history. Hunter finished her career with a 16-1 record in the NCAA Tournament as Nebraska's starting setter, posting the most wins and highest postseason winning percentage by a starting setter in Husker history.
Two Huskers Enter NCAA Transfer Portal
Also on Monday, Cook confirmed two Huskers – sophomore defensive specialist Chen Abramovich and sophomore opposite hitter Anezka Szabo - entered the NCAA transfer portal following the 2019 fall semester.
Abramovich, a native of Kfar Saba, Israel, missed the 2019 season with a foot injury after playing one match as a freshman in 2018. Szabo, a Sioux Falls, South Dakota native who has already announced her intentions to transfer to Kansas, played in 31 matches and had five kills and four blocks in 2019 as a redshirt sophomore. She played in nine matches in 2018 before a season-ending injury and appeared in 14 matches as a freshman on Nebraska's 2017 NCAA Championship team, notching 15 kills and three blocks.
"I have enjoyed coaching Chen and Nesh these last few years," Cook said. "Both have worked very hard and been good teammates and student-athletes. We wish Chen and Nesh the best."
13-Jan-2020 / NU Athletic Communications
The Nebraska men's basketball team nearly erased a 15-point halftime deficit Saturday at Northwestern, but the Huskers were unable to overcome a cold-shooting performance in a 62-57 loss at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Northwestern (6-9, 1-4 Big Ten) used a 16-1 first-half run to build its 15-point halftime lead before hanging on down the stretch as Nebraska (7-9, 2-3 Big Ten) made a furious late run. The Huskers trailed by 14 midway through the second half, with Nebraska outscoring Northwestern 15-6 over the final 10 minutes. But a potential game-tying 3-pointer was missed with 12 seconds to play, allowing Northwestern to escape with its first Big Ten win of the year.
It was a tale of two halves, as Northwestern scored 42 first-half points while shooting 51 percent from the field and knocking down eight 3-pointers. After being outscored by 15 in the first half, Nebraska flipped the script in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats by 10 while limiting Northwestern to just 20 points.
Despite the strong second-half defensive effort in which the Huskers held the Wildcats to 2-of-15 from the 3-point line and 26.7 percent shooting overall, Nebraska was not able to overcome its own cold shooting. Nebraska shot 31.3 percent for the game, and the Huskers were just 9-of-30 from the 3-point line. Northwestern shot nearly 40 percent overall and tied a season high with 10 3-pointers.
Cam Mack produced another double-double for the Huskers, pacing the Big Red with 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. In his first four career Big Ten Conference games, Mack produced the first triple-double in Nebraska men's basketball history against Purdue and tallied a pair of points-assists double-doubles against Indiana and Iowa before producing a points-rebounds double-double against Northwestern. He has a total of five double-doubles in his debut season.
Haanif Cheatham joined Mack in double figures with 10 points, while Kevin Cross and Matej Kavas had nine points apiece. Miller Kopp scored a game-high 15 points for Northwestern, as one of four Wildcats in double figures.
Northwestern used a hot-shooting first half to take a 42-27 lead into the locker room. The Wildcats shot better than 51 percent in the half – including hitting 10-of-14 shots at one point – while knocking down 8-of-14 from the 3-point line. Nebraska shot only 30.3 percent in the opening half, and the Huskers were just 2-of-6 at the free throw line.
After Northwestern opened the game with a basket, Nebraska responded with seven straight points – five from Dachon Burke Jr. – to take an early five-point lead. The Huskers remained on top until Pat Spencer hit a pair of 3-pointers during an 8-0 Northwestern run that put the Wildcats on top 14-9 six minutes into the game.
The game remained close over the next four minutes before Northwestern went on a 16-1 run that covered more than six minutes. The Wildcats began the run with five quick points to build a seven-point lead, and following a Kavas free throw, Northwestern scored 11 straight points to take a commanding 36-19 lead with 4:26 left in the half. Nebraska missed seven straight shots during the Wildcats' run, going 6:19 without a basket.
Nebraska outscored Northwestern over the final four minutes of the half but still trailed by 15 at the break. The Huskers then came out strong in the second half, scoring 12 points in the opening five minutes to trim the lead to eight at 47-39.
Following the quick second-half start, Nebraska missed 10 of its next 11 shots, scoring only five points in a seven-minute stretch. Despite the cold spell, the Huskers trailed only 56-47 with seven minutes to play following a Kavas 3-pointer. As Nebraska's defense kept the Huskers in the game, Kavas and Cross hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull Nebraska within six at 60-54 with 2:30 remaining, the closest the Huskers had been since the nine-minute mark of the first half.
Northwestern then missed the front end of three consecutive one-and-one opportunities before Mack banked in a 3-pointer to cap a 9-0 run that made the score 60-57 with 50.4 seconds remaining. Nebraska forced a miss on the Wildcats' ensuing possession but the Huskers missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer and Kopp knocked down a pair of free throws with 11 seconds remaining to seal the win.
Nebraska returns to action on Tuesday, when the Huskers travel to Columbus, Ohio, to take on Ohio State. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. (Central) and the game will be televised nationally on FS1.
13-Jan-2020 / NU Athletic Communications
Piscataway, N.J. - Nebraska tied its season high with 12 three-pointers but Rutgers outscored the Huskers 36-20 on points in the paint, as the Scarlet Knights notched a hard-fought 69-65 women's basketball win over the Big Red at The RAC on Sunday afternoon.
Sophomore Ashtyn Veerbeek matched her season high with 14 points by knocking down a career-high four three-pointers to lead the Huskers, who slipped to 13-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten. The 6-2 forward from Sioux Center, Iowa added five rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Senior guard Hannah Whitish was the only other Husker to manage double figures with 10 points, including a trio of threes, while adding four rebounds, four assists and a steal, while Leigha Brown, Nicea Eliely and freshman Isabelle Bourne added nine points apiece. Sam Haiby and freshman Trinity Brady each pitched in seven points.
Rutgers improved to 14-2 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten by winning the turnover battle, 17-6, and converting NU's turnovers into 21 points. The Scarlet Knights were also more efficient overall on the offensive end, hitting 45.2 percent (28-62) of their shots from the field including 4-of-11 threes (.364).
While Nebraska shot a sizzling 50 percent (12-24) from beyond the arc, the Huskers were just 11-for-34 from two-point range on the day. Nebraska finished at a season-low 39.7 percent (23-58) from the floor. Rutgers hit 24-of-51 two-point attempts and its 36-20 edge on points in the paint came despite Nebraska out-rebounding Rutgers 41-35 and outscoring the Scarlet Knights 15-10 in second-chance points.
Senior point guard Khadaizha Sanders led Rutgers with a game-high 17 points while the Big Ten's leading scorer, Arella Guirantes, added 16 points. Tekia Mack contributed 15 points and a game-high nine rebounds, while Jordan Wallace put four Scarlet Knights in double figures with 10 points.
Nebraska got off to a strong start, jumping to an 11-2 lead on the strength of two three-pointers from Veerbeek and another three from Whitish. But the Scarlet Knights answered with an 11-0 run to take their first lead of the game at 13-11 with 4:32 left in the quarter. Rutgers took its biggest lead of the quarter at 18-15, before Brady buried the Huskers' fourth three of the quarter to send the two teams to the first break tied at 18. Brady's seven points and two three-pointers were both career highs.
The Big Red again set the tone at the start of the second quarter, outscoring Rutgers 8-2 over the first five minutes to carry a 26-20 lead, as Haiby and Eliely hit threes before Brady added her second triple to put NU up 29-23 with 3:45 left in the half.
However, Rutgers outscored Nebraska 12-3 over the final 3:45 to take a 35-32 lead into the locker room.
Nebraska cut RU's margin to 42-40 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter, before the Scarlet Knights outscored NU 11-2 to close the period and take a 53-42 lead to the fourth. That lead ballooned to 15 at 59-44 after a Wallace layup with just over six minutes left before Nebraska erupted again.
Back-to-back threes by Brown and Veerbeek in a 25-second span opened an 11-0 Nebraska run that slashed the Rutgers' edge to 59-55 with 3:07 left. However, five straight points from Sanders, including a three, and a pair of free throws by Guirantes pushed the margin back to 66-55 with 1:03 left.
Nebraska still refused to quit, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 10-3 in the final minute, including a three from Whitish with 13 seconds left and NU's final bucket of the game from Bourne with 4.1 left to make the final margin. Bourne added a team-high eight rebounds in a strong effort off the bench. Rutgers went just 4-for-10 from the free throw line in the closing minute.
The Huskers return to Lincoln for the start of spring semester classes on Monday before returning to Big Ten road action at No. 17 Maryland on Thursday in College Park. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. (CT) at the Xfinity Center with live television coverage on BTN.