LINCOLN — The father of Nebraska volleyball’s four-year starting setter said on a podcast that his daughter, Nicklin Hames, will return for one more season at NU in a new role.
Speaking on the If You Can’t Handle The Heat podcast, Jason Hames, receiving audible permission from Nicklin, told the hosts she “definitely coming back” with a “path for her to go into a coaching role” after her career as a player.
“She’ll be in a different position as well,” James Hames said. “In terms of her setting, and what she’s done there, it’s like, yeah, she can do that if that’s what’s necessary, but she had her time.”
Jason Hames then said Kennedi Orr, the No. 1 player — and setter — in the 2021 recruiting class, will have “her time.”
“Nicklin’s going to be there to help facilitate whatever needs to happen to make her the best (Orr) can be and for the team to be the best they can be,” Jason Hames said. “And if that means her playing a different position — which is what they’re looking at — then that’s what she’s going to do. It’s going to be a grad assistant maybe year after that, where she’s a grad assistant and gets some coaching experience under a guy like Coach Cook and Jaylen (Reyes) and kind of learns the ropes and the ins and outs from that side and goes into coaching from there. I think that’s kind of what the plan looks like…the coaching aspect seems to excite her.”
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Nicklin’s parents are volleyball coaches. She played high school volleyball for her mom, Chris. Jason Hames is the director of Nicklin’s former club program, K2. If Nicklin pursued coaching it would be a similar path to that of Kelly Hunter, NU’s new volleyball assistant who preceded Hames as the Huskers’ setter.
If Hames moves to a different role — such as a defensive specialist job that suits her biggest strength — it opens the door for Orr, a taller (6-foot) setter who played in seven sets as a true freshman. Walk-on setter Anni Evans could return, as well.
Hames has another season of eligibility because the NCAA did not count the COVID year against the clock of student-athletes. If Nicklin Hames returns, NU will wait on the decision of middle blocker Kayla Caffey, who shined throughout the NCAA Tournament, particularly in the national title match against Wisconsin. Caffey would be returning for a seventh year of collegiate volleyball if she comes back.