Gophers hire Washington’s Keegan Cook as head volleyball coach

Less than a week after the team’s season-ending loss in the NCAA Tournament, the University of Minnesota volleyball team has its new coach.

Earlier this season, Gophers coach Hugh McCutcheon, who led the program for 11 years, announced that this season was his last. It was later announced that he’s shifting to a newly created role of assistant athletics director and sport development coach starting on Jan. 1.

In need of a new head coach, the program officially announced the hiring of University of Washington head coach Keegan Cook on Monday.

Cook, 37, has led Washington since 2015, leading the program to four Pac-12 championships and eight NCAA Tournaments in eight seasons.

Under Cook, the Huskies also made four trips to the NCAA Elite Eight and a run to the Final Four in 2021.

This year, Washington earned a No. 8 seed but lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to TCU.

“I am thrilled to welcome Keegan, his wife Sarah and their son, Oliver, to Minnesota,” U of M Director of Athletics Mark Coyle said in a statement. “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.”

“It is an honor to lead a historic program in Minnesota and compete in the best conference in the nation in the Big Ten,” Cook said in a statement. “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 becomes the eighth full-time head coach in Gophers volleyball history and only the third since 1996.

His more than 15 years of coaching experience includes his time at Washington, St. Mary’s College of California and USA Volleyball.

Cook’s five-year contract still needs official approval from the U of M Board of Regents.

A press conference to formally introduce Cook is scheduled for Friday.