Nebraska Athletic Director Trev Alberts joined Sports Nightly for the final time in 2021 to talk volleyball’s near-national title run, the fast start for women’s basketball and the date for the Huskers’ annual spring game.
Alberts opened his monthly show by heaping praise on the Husker volleyball program. Nebraska fell 3-2 to Wisconsin in the national championship match, the Badgers’ eighth straight win in the series, but few would’ve considered the Huskers, the 10-seed in the NCAA Tournament, a favorite to even make the run they did.
“They really stand for all of the things we want Husker athletics to be about––team and discipline and focus and energy and effort,” Alberts said. He hasn’t been at Nebraska for all of Coach John Cook’s career, but he said this season “had to be one of the best coaching jobs he’s ever done.”
Nebraska had a three-match losing streak in nonconference play and a Big Ten stretch where it dropped three-of-four. But the Huskers were playing their best volleyball at the end of the season.
“That team chose to be great, and chose to care and love each other,” Alberts said.
While this may have been Alberts’ first season getting to watch Cook up close, he’s already noticed one thing that he views as essential to his and the Huskers’ success.
“So many times in coaching, you can get your philosophy, your ‘this is what we believe in,’ your ‘this is what we’ve always done.’ What I love about John is he’s always adapting,” Alberts said. “There’s a book called ‘Change or Die,’ and that’s the reality of where we are in athletics today. You have to have the personal security to try new things and be open-minded. The student-athletes that are coming to Coach Cook today are a lot different than they were 10 years ago. It’s not on the student-athletes to change, it’s on the coaches to change.”
On to some other news and notes:
>>Alberts gave credit to Nebraska volleyball fans for filling the Devaney Center night in and night out, creating an environment that appeals to some of the nation’s best prospects and helps the Huskers land many of those high school athletes.
“The fans have a lot to do with it,” Alberts said.
The Nebraska-Wisconsin match, played in Columbus, Ohio, set a national record for volleyball attendance at 18,755.
>>Amy Williams and Nebraska women’s basketball moved to 11-0 with win over Drake on Sunday. Alberts was asked about the fast start.
“I love the way they play,” he said. “They share the basketball, they’re tough.”
And, in what’s becoming something of a theme with the AD, he added this: “It’s pretty obvious they care about each other.”
Alberts said there’s a lot other programs at NU can learn from volleyball and women’s basketball.
>>Nebraska football’s spring game will be April 9. That’s a bit earlier than normal, but Nebraska is hoping to have the turf replaced at Memorial Stadium, among other ongoing projects, that necessitated the April date.
>>Speaking of which, If you’re a season ticket holder for football, be on the lookout for a survey in your inboxes some time in January. It will dive deep on the fan experience as Alberts and his team consider improvements to Memorial Stadium.
>>Alberts said an eight-game conference schedule, instead of the nine played currently in the Big Ten, remains a topic of conversation among conference athletic directors. That group is largely waiting on a decision on expanding the College Football Playoff before determining the best course of action in the Big Ten.
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.