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John Cook wanted $15K-earning horse in Nebraska contract
Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports

John Cook wanted $15K-earning horse in Nebraska contract

LINCOLN, Neb. (BVM) – Nebraska Cornhuskers coach John Cook signed a contract extension through January 2029, amounting to a $75,000 annual raise that puts his salary at $825,000. This makes Cook the highest-paid college volleyball coach in the country. 

During his contract discussions, Cook even asked athletic director Troy Dannen to include a horse as part of his compensation package. 

“When Troy (Dannen) and I talked about my contract, I proposed that instead of an annual escalating salary that some coaches do, it would mean a great deal to me if the Nebraska Athletic Department would consider supporting me in purchasing a horse out in central Nebraska that I’ve had my eye on,” Cook said in a Huskers’ press release.

However, the University of Nebraska couldn’t include a horse in his compensation package. Instead, Cook has decided he will use his $70,000 retention bonus to purchase the horse himself. 

“… Troy loved the idea, and while they couldn’t specifically write that into the contract, the retention bonus will be used for [the horse],” Cook stated. 

The horse that Cook is eyeing was “born and bred at the famous Pitzer Ranch in Ericson and is a once-in-a-lifetime performance horse. He was purchased as a weanling by Mark Wray and then trained by the Wray family,” according to Cook.

So, what is the price of the horse that Cook wants? While Pitzer Ranch couldn’t provide the exact cost of the horse, a representative provided some other details.

The horse can be identified as “Show A Hot Rod.” The 8-year-old champion horse has accumulated $15,271 in lifetime earnings. 

  • Riata Buckle Timed All-Age Breakaway Roping Open 1D Champion (2023)
  • Riata Buckle Timed All-Age Breakaway Roping Round 2 Open Champion (2023) 
  • Split 3rd Riata Buckle Timed All-Age Breakaway Roping Round 1 Open (2023) 
  • 3rd Pitzer Ranch Horse Inv. Open Ranch Sorting (2022) 
  • Pitzer Ranch Horse Inv. Open Ranch Trail Reserve Champion (2021) 

The 2016 palomino gelding can also be viewed in the video below:

Notably, according to a listing under Pitzer Ranch Spring Sale 2024, the horse was sold on April 27, but it’s unclear if Cook or someone else purchased it. The top-selling “4 & Older Broke Gelds” in their 2023 spring sale sold for $86,000, and in 2022, the highest-selling horse went for $110,000.

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