October 25, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Pete Ricketts (R-NE) to honor the record-setting “Volleyball Day in Nebraska” event on August 30 and celebrate the importance of women’s collegiate athletics in Nebraska.
Ahead of the bill’s passage, Senators Fischer and Ricketts delivered remarks on the Senate floor to support the resolution and honor the historic occasion.
On August 30, 2023, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and Wayne State College all participated in the Volleyball Day in Nebraska event, which broke the world attendance record for a women’s sporting event. The previous world record was set by a UEFA Champions League soccer match in Barcelona, Spain last year that drew 91,648 fans.
The resolution congratulates the University of Nebraska, women’s volleyball athletes, and their supporters for making history on Volleyball Day in Nebraska. It also highlights the hard work of Coaches John Cook, Pat Sullivan, and Terry Pettit. In addition, the legislation recognizes the impact of the event on young women, inspiring them to pursue their aspirations as athletes and individuals.
Click here to read the text of the resolution.
Following is a transcript of Senator Fischer’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
On August 30th, Nebraska made history.
Thousands of spectators streamed into Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium for two women’s volleyball matches — the first between the University of Nebraska-Kearney and Wayne State College, and the second between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
On Volleyball Day in Nebraska, we broke a world record. Our Nebraska teams set the new record for attendance at a women’s sporting event: 92,003 fans.
Volleyball Day in Nebraska took months of preparation to pull off, but the University of Nebraska did it successfully. Our Nebraska colleges planned diligently and worked hard in anticipation of this new record. It’s a picture of Nebraska — we are a state defined by dedication, drive, and most of all, community.
Nebraskans showcased that dedication and drive as they came together to get as many people as possible to the stands. When they got there, they supported and encouraged players and fans alike. Whether the spectators were Husker, Maverick, Loper, or Wildcat fans, they showed sportsmanship and goodwill.
In response to Nebraska’s exciting new record, we’re passing a resolution today that will celebrate women’s collegiate athletics in our home state. This resolution will recognize the historic Volleyball Day in Nebraska on a federal level.
In addition to attendance at a women’s sporting event, Volleyball Day in Nebraska broke several other records. The event exceeded the previous attendance record for NCAA women’s volleyball. The new women’s volleyball record of 92,003 fans in attendance is almost five times more than the old record of 18,755! The August 30 match also exceeded the attendance record for UNL’s Memorial Stadium.
Our resolution specifically honors Nebraska’s former Coach Pat Sullivan, who started the University of Nebraska volleyball program in 1975. It also honors former Coach Terry Pettit, who built the volleyball program from 1977 to 1999, and current Coach John Cook, who has sustained excellence in the program since 2000.
And the team has sustained excellence even since Volleyball Day in Nebraska. Our women’s volleyball team won the battle of the undefeated against Wisconsin this past weekend and is now ranked number one in the country.
This Senate resolution celebrates a special day for women, for volleyball players, and for Nebraskans. I’m proud to bring well-deserved recognition to this unique accomplishment. As we often say, there is no place like Nebraska.
Following is a transcript of Senator Ricketts’ remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Mr. President.
I’m here today to join my senior senator to celebrate this historic achievement for our state of Nebraska and women’s athletics. Nebraskans, we love our sports, and we are particularly proud of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cornhuskers.
Today especially, I want to point out our pride in the UNL Women’s Volleyball program. As my senior senator just recognized, they are the #1 ranked team in the nation.
We’ve had five national championships in volleyball in the state of Nebraska. It’s the third most in the NCAA. That’s also as many national championships that we’ve had for our college football team. The volleyball program has nine former Olympians.
The Husker women have also played on the U.S. national volleyball team. In fact, three are on the team right now. They are also pioneers in the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL).
As my senior senator pointed out, we just beat the previous #1, undefeated University of Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday night in a five-set thriller that lived up to its billing of the “Match of the Century.”
In 2022, our volleyball team led the nation with an average attendance of 8,190 fans per game. We’ve had 314 consecutive sellouts in the regular season. And for the last 9 consecutive seasons, we have led the nation in attendance.
But earlier this year, Nebraskans helped the women’s volleyball program reach a new height – a world record. It was Volleyball Day in Nebraska. 92,003 of the best fans in sports jammed into Memorial Stadium to watch 4 women’s volleyball programs highlight their talent.
The Wayne State College Wildcats took on the University of Nebraska-Kearney Lopers, and the Omaha Mavericks took on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Cornhuskers. The eyes of the entire world were focused on Memorial Stadium.
Right in my home state of Nebraska, we had the most highly attended women’s sporting event in the world ever. As Omaha World Herald columnist Tom Shatel wrote: “Volleyball Day in Nebraska may be the biggest Title IX statement of all time.”
Volleyball Day demonstrated just how much progress we’ve made in providing equal opportunity to our daughters, granddaughters, and sisters in sports. Title IX was about leveling the playing field for women’s athletics, and for over 50 years it has done just that. And of course, this is more than just about sports for many of these women.
Athletics has been a pathway to scholarships, educational opportunities, and career pathways. The University of Nebraska also prides itself on instilling life skills into their student athletes.
The Huskers women’s volleyball program has been filled with remarkable student-athletes in the truest sense of the word. They lead the nation with 40 volleyball Academic All-Americans, as part of a nation-leading 351 Academic All-Americans in all sports. They also have 3 NCAA Volleyball Elite 90 Award Winners. The players are the stars, but of course you can’t have a good team, without a good coach.
The Nebraska women’s volleyball program has a great one in Coach John Cook. Coach Cook has been a part of the Nebraska Volleyball Family for 23 years. During that time, the team has made the NCAA playoffs every single year. Under his eye, the Women’s Volleyball team has won four National Championships, and in September 2022, Coach Cook celebrated his 800th career coaching win. The Huskers tagline is “In Our Grit, Our Glory.”
Volleyball Day in Nebraska – and a new world record in attendance at a women’s sporting event – is the epitome of that motto.
Congratulations to everyone at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln whose grit made Volleyball Day possible and to all the other programs who participated. I also want to thank Vice Chancellor & Athletic Director Trev Alberts and his team for their efforts.
Thanks also to Coach Cook and his staff, and most especially, thank you to the women of the University of Nebraska Volleyball Program. You have given us something very special to be proud of.
Truly, there is no place like Nebraska. Nebraska is what America is supposed to be.
And finally, thank you to the senior senator from Nebraska for introducing this resolution. I’m proud to join you in recognizing this great achievement.