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Tim Brusnahan, John Baylor

Program Chair Tim Brusnahan (left) alongside John Baylor, the "Voice of Husker Volleyball," at Monday's Executive Club luncheon in downtown Lincoln at the Nebraska Club.

John Baylor has been around Nebraska long enough to see eight Husker national championships.

You could say the “Voice of Husker Volleyball” knows a good thing when he sees it.

After moving back to Lincoln from Los Angeles, California in August of 1993, Baylor was in town just in time to witness Husker football dominance with three national championships in four years -- 1994, 1995 and 1997 -- and all under the tutelage of Head Coach Tom Osborne.

Not to be outdone, over the last four years under the leadership of Head Coach John Cook, Husker volleyball has reached four final fours with two national titles in 2015 and 2017.

“We need to cherish this. What we’re experiencing here is the golden era of Nebraska volleyball,” said Baylor in addressing Executive Club members Sept. 16 at their weekly luncheon at the Nebraska Club in downtown Lincoln. “Since 2015, we have witnessed an unprecedented four-year stretch. It takes a lot to build something like this. You just can’t take it for granted. Because we’ve seen how easy it is to see it slip away.”

Over the past 2018 season, the Huskers lost in the championship final to Stanford in a heartbreaking fifth set, giving the Cardinal their eighth title. Baylor reminded the audience that the score was tied 9-9 in that final set before Nebraska succumbed.

The luncheon was held Monday before the Huskers were to host a rematch against Stanford on Wednesday at the Devaney Center.

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In looking forward to Wednesday’s match, Baylor said the Cardinal returns a lot of experience this season, including five seniors and a graduate student. But, he said it takes more than experience and talent to win games and titles in college volleyball.

“This sport is more interdependent than almost any other sport,” said Baylor, who’s entering his 26th season broadcasting Husker volleyball. “Chemistry on a team is very important. And, every year it can change.”

Baylor said the 2019 Huskers are young and a bit inexperienced after losing key graduating seniors Kenzie Maloney and Mikaela Foecke from last season.

“Mikaela (Foecke) blew fresh air into the program,” Baylor said. “She and Kenzie (Maloney) were part of an elite group of volleyball players that broke through the noise we started in reaching past the Stanford, Texas and Penn State programs.”

In addition to 2015 and 2017, Cook’s team won titles in 2000 and 2006. The first Husker volleyball championship came in 1995 under the coaching helm of Terry Pettit, who coached from 1977 to 1999. Cook took over in 2000.

Baylor said the future looks even brighter for Nebraska volleyball. He said the Huskers already have commitments from four out of the top 15-ranked college recruits for the 2021 season. And, he said they are building on their sold-out record for Husker volleyball attendance, which started in 2002 and keeps growing in the newer, bigger home of an 8,000-plus-seat venue at the Devaney Center.

“It’s the golden age of Nebraska volleyball.”

The author, Tim Brusnahan, is program chair at Lincoln Executive Club and employed at Allo Communications.

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