Home of Nebraska Volleyball

One of the foundations for Nebraska's athletic success is its outstanding facilities, and few home courts in the country are as tradition-rich as the Nebraska Coliseum, the home of the Husker volleyball program.  Over the years, the 4,030-seat NU Coliseum has provided the Nebraska volleyball program with an unmatched home-court advantage.

“Winston Churchill said ‘in the beginning, we build buildings. In the end, we are shaped by the buildings we live in.' I think the Coliseum shapes Nebraska volleyball,” Former Nebraska volleyball coach Terry Pettit said. “It's an environment that creates intimacy. It's a classic structure and in a lot of ways reflects what the Nebraska program is all about.”

The Coliseum, which sits nestled on the University campus, is a beautiful display of architecture highlighted by its powerful Roman columns gracing the front steps. But while it's beauty is appreciated by Husker players, coaches and fans, it is one of the most dreaded places for opponents to play in the sport of volleyball, and arguably one of the toughest places to play in college athletics.

“If the volleyball gods wanted to build a volleyball court, the Coliseum would be it,” NU coach John Cook said. “It's a very intimate setting. Everyone feels part of the event.”

During the Terry Pettit/John Cook era, the Huskers have qualified for 27 consecutive NCAA Tournaments, and the Coliseum crowd has willed the Huskers to many victories in the historic building. Cook credited the NU Coliseum crowd with willing the Huskers to a come-from-behind, 3-2 win over South Carolina in the 2000 NCAA second round that kept the Huskers' national championship season alive.

Nebraska volleyball has had unmatched success in the confines of the cozy Coliseum, posting 16 undefeated seasons and compiling an all-time record of 468-30 (.940) under its roof. The Huskers are 183-12 (.949) since 1990 in the building, including 10 undefeated seasons in that span. 

While these numbers are impressive, Big 12 and former Big Eight members managed even fewer wins. That's because Nebraska doesn't lose to conference opponents in the Coliseum.

Only three times in 33 years of regular-season Big Eight/Big 12 play has a conference opponent ever won on the Coliseum floor. In fact, during that time, only three conference opponents have managed to win in Lincoln. Nebraska suffered its first-ever regular-season loss to a conference foe in 1999, falling to Kansas State to snap a streak of 101 consecutive wins against regular-season conference opponents. Under John Cook, the Huskers have dropped only two Big 12 home matches at the Coliseum over the last nine years and none since 2004.

Cook and Pettit said the home-court advantage is most valuable during its long, hard-fought battles.

“You feel incredibly confident when you get into a fifth game in the Coliseum because of the electricity in tight matches,” Cook said.

“The home crowd was a big advantage when we were fatigued or drained in the middle of a four- or five-game match,” Pettit said. “The players used the energy and electricity from the fans to pull them through difficult stretches. I don't think that it's as big an advantage against the elite teams, but it definitely makes a difference.”

Nebraska has used that success at home to propel it through the NCAA Tournament.  The Huskers have hosted an NCAA Tournament match every season since 1984 and have capitalized on each opportunity by compiling a 47-3 playoff record in the stoic building. And Nebraska fans have been rewarded by seeing eight of the Huskers' 11 NCAA regional championships won on their home court.

Nebraska carried a 65-match Coliseum win streak into the 1999 season, but suffered a loss to No. 6 Pacific in the State Farm/NACWAA Classic semifinal. In 2002, the Huskers carried a 63-match home winning streak into its NCAA regional final match against Hawaii, but fell, 3-1. Nebraska begins the 2009 season with a 78-match home winning streak in the Nebraska Coliseum dating back nearly four seasons, part of a remarkable 87-match home win streak for the Huskers.

The win streaks are a direct result of Nebraska's frenzied crowds that routinely jam the building's bleachers. The Huskers finished second nationally in attendance in 2007 with a Coliseum average attendance of 4,128, a total that is 102 percent of the Coliseum's listed capacity. Single-match tickets in 2007 sold out in just 45 minutes, as fans began lining up the day before to get their hands on the precious tickets.

“To appreciate the athleticism and the speed of the game, you have to be down close and the Coliseum provides that intimate setting," Cook said about the NU Coliseum atmosphere.

Fans have been known to line up as much as four to five hours in advance to see their Husker volleyball team in action. During the 2007 season, fans set an NCAA regular-season attendance mark of 13,396 for a match against Hawaii in the Bob Devaney Sports Center. Nebraska has averaged more than 3,000 fans for 14 of the past 16 seasons.

The Coliseum's roots go back to the 1920s when it was the home for the Husker basketball team. NU's cagers played on its hardwood floors from 1926 to 1977, when the construction on the Bob Devaney Sports Center was completed.

Since then, the volleyball team has been its lone tenant. In 1991, the Huskers had a one-year hiatus from the Coliseum while the building was being renovated and tailored for volleyball. The renovation provided a more comfortable atmosphere for players, coaches and fans. Among the additions were a new sound system, scoreboard, overhead lights and a new floor. Offices for coaches and administrators, as well as a conference/media room, were constructed for a better working environment.

Over the years, the building has seen numerous additions to add to the comfort of both players and fans, while keeping the tradition of the building and the Husker volleyball program.  Over the past decade, locker rooms, training areas and coaches offices have all been upgraded to provide Husker student-athletes with some of the best facilities in the country. For fans, HuskerVision replay boards, a new scoreboard and new displays have been added, recognizing the great heritage and tradition of the program.

Additional seating for fans was created in 2005, with the addition of the Husker Courtside Club. This added 60 premium seats on the Coliseum floor, giving fans an up-close view of all of the exciting volleyball action, and making Nebraska one of the first programs in the country to add premium courtside seating for volleyball.

Yearly Attendance Since 1990

Year

Matches

Attend.

Avg.

NCAA Rank

2011

16

72,355

4,522

2nd

2010

15

69,479

4,632

2nd

2009

18

93,554

5,197

2nd

2008

15

71,539

4,769

2nd

2007

18

92,517

5,140

2nd

2006

19

78,598

4,137

2nd

2005

20

119,383

5,969

2nd

2004

16

69,378

4,336

2nd

2003

15

63,587

4,239

3rd

2002

18

79,024

4,390

2nd

2001

16

69,053

4,316

2nd

2000

19

80,252

4,224

2nd

1999

19

71,376

3,767

2nd

1998

18

69,594

3,866

2nd

1997

17

60,551

3,562

2nd

1996

10

36,912

3,691

2nd

1995

14

53,604

3,829

2nd

1994

17

60,028

3,531

2nd

1993

14

35,009

2,501

2nd

1992

13

42,151

3,242

1st

1991

15

49,828

3,322

1st

1990

18

54,554

3,031

1st




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Year Record
2011 14-1
2010 15-0
2009 14-4
2008 14-0
2007 18-0
2006 19-0
2005 15-0
2004 14-1
2003 10-4
2002 17-1
2001 15-0
2000 18-0
1999 15-3
1998 18-0
1997 16-0
1996 17-0
1995 15-1
1994 16-1
1993 14-0
1992 13-1
1991* 13-2
1990 18-0
1989 17-2
1988 14-1
1987 16-0
1986 15-3
1985 14-0
1984 13-0
1983 11-0
1982 11-2
1981 9-0
1980 17-3
1979 11-1
1978 19-5
1977 16-1
1976 13-0
1975 7-0
*-The 1991 season was played in the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
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