Tyler Hildebrand is back. The former Nebraska volleyball assistant coach is set to return to the Huskers’ program as associate head coach, Coach John Cook announced Monday. Hildebrand replaces Kayla Banwarth, who accepted the head coach position with Ole Miss in December.
"The 2017 season was one of my most enjoyable seasons as a head coach with Tyler and Kayla," Cook said in the release. "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."
Hildebrand previously helped coach Nebraska to an NCAA Championship in his only season with the Huskers in 2017. He is currently serving as the Director of Coaching for the USA Volleyball Beach National Team Program and will assume his associate head coach duties with Nebraska following the conclusion of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. His expected start date is August 10.
Kelly Hunter, a two-time All-American and national champion setter with Nebraska, will serve as an interim assistant coach on the Husker staff from January to August. Hunter was a graduate assistant during the 2019 season and will become a volunteer coach for the 2020 season with Nebraska once Hildebrand joins the staff this August.
"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."
Hildebrand will be the first associate head coach in Cook’s tenure at Nebraska. While he’s been in California over the last two years directing the U.S. Beach Volleyball program, he has served as a consultant for Cook in his spare time. That included following the Nebraska program, watching video and offering thoughts.
"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."