University of Minnesota Director of Athletics Mark Coyle announced today that Keegan Cook has been named head volleyball coach. The University and Cook have agreed to a five-year term, which is pending Board of Regents approval and the completion of a background check.
Cook will be the eighth full-time head coach and ninth individual to lead the Gophers, which first competed in 1972. However he will be just the third full-time head coach to lead the program since 1996, following Hugh McCutcheon (2012-22, 277-74 record) and Mike Hebert (1996-2010, 381-137 record). Laura Bush served as interim head coach in 2011.
Cook, 37, comes to Minnesota with more than 15 years of coaching experience, which includes the last eight as head coach at Washington. Cook has also coached at the high school, club and international level with USA volleyball.
“I am thrilled to welcome Keegan, his wife Sarah and their son, Oliver, to Minnesota,” said Coyle. “Keegan prioritizes a holistic coaching approach and has been successful at every stop on his journey. He has a proven record of success when it comes to recruiting, developing and coaching student-athletes, and he knows what it takes to compete for conference and national championships. Gopher volleyball is tremendously important to the Minnesota community, but it is also a national program that has an ever-expanding fan base and competes at an extremely high level. I know Keegan is ready to get to work, and I am looking forward to him leading the Gophers.”
At Washington, Cook replaced Jim McLaughlin, who posted a record of 357-90 and was one of the most successful coaches – regardless of sport – in the school’s history. Cook served as an assistant coach for two years on McLaughlin’s staff before being named head coach of the Huskies in January 2015.
In eight seasons as Washington’s head coach, Cook led the Huskies to four Pac-12 Championships and eight trips to the NCAA Tournament. Washington advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight four times and the Final Four once. Cook posted an overall record of 198-56 at Washington and went 107-33 in conference play. He coached 12 different student-athletes to a combined 18 AVCA All-America honors and earned conference and region Coach of the Year laurels.
“It is an honor to lead a historic program in Minnesota and compete in the best conference in the nation in the Big Ten,” said Cook. “I want to thank President Joan Gabel, Director of Athletics Mark Coyle, Deputy Athletic Director Julie Manning and the entire search committee for trusting me to lead the Gophers. I am looking forward to getting to know the team, the alumni and engaging with the passionate fans and volleyball community in Minnesota. I can’t wait to get started.”
Cook was an assistant coach at Washington for the 2013-14 seasons, which happened to be the program’s first consecutive 30-win seasons. The Huskies won 30 games in 2013 and advanced to the national semifinals and then won 31 games in 2014 and competed in the regional semifinals. Cook was also tasked with leading Washington’s beach volleyball team, which made its debut in April 2014.
Prior to his time at Washington, Cook was an assistant coach from 2007-12 at his alma mater St. Mary’s College of California. Cook helped the Gaels win their first West Coast Conference title in 2009 and saw the team compete in the NCAA tournament three times.
In recent years, Cook has worked with USA Volleyball as well. In 2016, he was the head coach for the U.S. Collegiate Women’s National Team for its tour of China, and in 2018 Cook led the U.S. Junior Women’s National Team to compete in the NORCECA Championships in Mexico. In the summer of 2022, Cook was an assistant on the U.S. Girl’s U19 Team that won gold at the Pan American Cup in Tulsa, Okla.
Cook, who is from Pleasanton, Calif., earned his Bachelor of Arts from St. Mary’s in 2007. He played club volleyball at St. Mary’s, where he majored in Mathematics and earned a minor in Religious Studies. During college, he coached at nearby Acalanes High School. He was also the head coach of the NorCal Volleyball Club for ten years, with ten club teams under his purview. All of Cook’s teams qualified for the Junior Olympic Championships during his last five years and his 16-Under girls’ team won the 2008 Junior Olympic gold medal.
Cook married Sarah Ammerman in 2020, and the couple welcomed their first child, Oliver, in 2021.
(info courtesy of Gopher Sports)