This week, a pair of Nebraska volleyball legends received some good news via FaceTime from Coach John Cook. Coach Terry Pettit and outside hitter Jordan Larson are among the six individuals selected to enter the Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame in 2020.
Another facetime from @jcook2.
This time @JordanLarson10 is on the other line.
Wonder what he has to say… 😁 pic.twitter.com/M3gdDJEhs1
— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) April 1, 2020
On Thursday, Larson joined Ben McLaughlin on Sports Nightly to discuss how she learned the news and other topics.
Larson said it still gives her chills when she thinks about the honor and isn’t sure when it will really sink in for her. She discussed the special chat with Cook.
“I had another phone call set up with him later in the week, so I was really kind of like, ‘What is this for?’” Larson said. “He was like ‘Oh, I just need to produce more content. Do you mind if I FaceTime you and ask you a couple questions?’ I was like ‘OK, sure.’ I didn’t think anything of it, I was just chilling in my back yard. So he just starts asking questions and that last one, you see, I’m like, ‘Wait, are you asking? Or you telling? Like, what?’ I was just really taken aback. Coach Cook is typically just all business so I was not anticipating that at all. It was just a really cool moment.”
Larson, the Hooper, Nebraska, native who played at Nebraska form 2005 to 2008, is one of the greatest players in program history. Her extensive list of honors include first-team AVCA All-America honors in 2006 and 2008, first-team All-Big 12 honors 2006-08, the Big 12 Player of the Year award as a senior and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year recognition in 2006 and 2008 among many others. When Larson completed here Husker career, she was first all-time in service aces (186), fifth in kills (1,600), second in digs (1,410) and seventh in solo blocks (71). The Huskers went 127-8 (.941) in her four seasons with four Big 12 Conference titles and three trips to the NCAA Semifinals, including the 2006 national title and a runner-up finish in 2005.
There truly are no words to express my gratitude for this incredible honor. Grateful for the people who paved the way for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart #Husker nation! I will always bleed Husker red and continue to represent the University with pride. @Huskers https://t.co/JMHOHaX2Hp
— Jordan Larson (@JordanLarson10) April 1, 2020
Larson has been playing professionally since graduating form Nebraska and has been a key part of the U.S. National Team for many years. Larson said she couldn’t come up with the words to describe what it felt and still feels like to see her name on that Team USA jersey.
“I was on the youth national team, the junior national team, and even that, being able to be picked out of the United States out of so many people and to have your name on the jersey, I don’t know how to articulate that and I still don’t,” Larson said. “It still gives me chills, and I think that’s why I’m still playing … I love representing the bigger picture than me and the people that have come before me.”
Larson was preparing to compete in her third Olympics when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down sports all over the world, resulting in the Tokyo Olympics being postponed until 2021. She’s seen a lot of teammates come and go on the national team and the dynamics have changed over the years.
“There are conversations, especially now that I’m much older than a lot of people coming in, so I’m like, ‘Wait, where did you play again? What was your experience like?’” Larson said. “It’s a much different environment now going through college than it was maybe when I was going through it. But there’s just an insane amount of pride that we’re all coming together as one nation now. That’s always cool for me to think about is we were all competing across the net from each other but now we get to come unite as one. I think that’s just so unique and so cool.
“All of a sudden the conversations go from ‘hey, I beat you’ — which I still rub it in sometimes when I talk to Foluke [Akinradewo] from Stanford, like ‘Oh, remember that game?’ I think it turns into ‘hey, what are we going to do on this next point?’ or ‘Hey, when are we going to beat Serbia next?’ or things like that. It definitely translates over time.”
Larson closed out her appearance by sharing some advice for athletes just beginning their college careers.
“It’s truly the best time of your life,” Larson said. “You get to get an education at the same time as playing volleyball. I can’t tell you how many teammates of mine overseas like in Turkey or Russia that expressed they don’t have that opportunity of going to school and getting to play and getting an education at the same time. It’s either you play volleyball or you get an education, so as a nation we’re just so extremely blessed that we get to do both at the same time and still play at a very high level in front of a lot of fans. Just take it all in and truly embrace it, study hard, make it worth your while and just have fun too. I think that’s also very important.”
As for Pettit, Cook broke the news to him the same why he did with Larson: via FaceTime.
Coach Cook facetiming Coach Pettit? 🤔
…wait for it pic.twitter.com/pfymQgNdtM
— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) March 31, 2020
Pettit is the man Cook succeeded at Nebraska. Pettit coached Nebraska from 1977 to 1999, building the Huskers into a national power. He guided Nebraska to a 694-148-12 overall record (.812 winning percentage) with 21 Big Eight and Big 12 conference titles and the school’s first national title in 1995.
Nebraska will announce the rest of the inductees individually over the next couple of weeks.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.