Time Out: Destinee Hooker

Destinee Hooker made an appearance at the Nike Big Four Classic earlier this season to support her alma mater.
Lee Feinswog
Destinee Hooker made an appearance at the Nike Big Four Classic earlier this season to support her alma mater.

The name alone will get you.

Destinee Hooker.

But it’s her fun-loving nature and willingness to share her life that has brought one of the world’s best volleyball players nearly 30,000 Twitter followers and almost 15,000 on Instagram.

Like on October 2, when she Tweeted, “28 weeks!!”

So they know that Hooker will be a mom around Christmas. The baby is due December 22.

“She’s healthy, kicks all the time and I think she’s going to be a volleyball player,” Hooker says. “But whatever she wants to do I’m going to support.”

She smiled.

“Volleyball would be nice.”

And why not? It’s been great to the baby’s mom, the former Texas star who was a key reason the U.S. made it to the gold-medal match in the 2012 Olympics in London. The opposite led her team in scoring in its semifinal victory over South Korea with 21 kills in 33 swings with just one error. The U.S. lost in the final to Brazil, but Hooker finished the London Games as the “Best Spiker” after a .379 hitting efficiency.

The 6-foot-4 remarkable leaper got married last September 13 to Steven Coulter and then had a wedding ceremony and celebration this past June 15.

“After the Olympics I had about a month of free time, and on September 14 went right to Russia. Got married the 13th and flew out the very next day,” she recalls.

After playing pro in Brazil in 2012, Hooker’s new team last year was Dinamo Krasnodar, “which is about two hours south of Moscow,” where, she added, the winter was a lot milder.

It’s not lost on her that a kid from San Antonio playing in Russia is something else.

“It’s truly a blessing,” she says. “You don’t expect to be one of those athletes who travels the world. It’s definitely a privilege to play overseas and represent the USA when you’re there and it’s always good when you get positive feedback and they want you to come back.

“A lot of people don’t understand that when you’re overseas you’re away from your friends, your loved ones, and it’s hard to adjust to the culture there.”

Hooker offered an interesting twist to dealing with it.

“When I was in Korea you had to bow to the men,” she said. “You had to clean up the gym. In Russia, women did everything but at the same time men were more dominant. So you had to have men talk to the men. So every time my husband came he got to talk to the managers because they were all men. They hear me, but they don’t really hear me. So when my husband came and stood up for me, it was like, OK, we’ll listen to you.

“It’s different.”

Being subservient, it was pointed out, is not part of her personality.

“No, not at all,” the 26-year-old said with a laugh.

Not for someone who seemingly tells all about her life on the internet, from when she’s flying to when she’s eating to even selling an adorable litter of puppies.

Hooker finished a remarkable career at Texas as a first-team Volleyball magazine All-American and Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament in 2009, when the Longhorns fell to Penn State in the national-championship match.

She was also a track star at UT, with accomplishments that include winning the NCAA outdoors high jump three times and indoors once, setting the collegiate record at 6’6”.

Hooker admits she misses track and field, “but I would never go back to it, especially since I’ve had two knee surgeries. I wouldn’t want to risk it.”

Certainly not after the way she rocketed from Texas onto the international volleyball scene. In 2010 she was the fourth best scorer in the FIVB World Grand Prix final round. Then in 2011 she was named MVP of that circuit as she helped the USA win the event for the second straight year.

After the 2012 Olympics, she said that she and Coulter had a plan.

“We said we were gonna get pregnant in April after the Russian season so that way I had the whole year off,” Hooker says. “And once the baby’s born I could get right back into volleyball. And sure enough, even though I didn’t think I was pregnant, I took the pregnancy test on April 29th and I was like, ‘Yes! We finally fulfilled the goal.’ It was great.”

And she’s so excited, which she loves to Tweet.

For example, on October 9, Hooker wrote, “Got to see a 4D image of my baby girl I am IN LOVE.”

It didn’t keep her from running a series of volleyball camps this past summer. She describes herself on Twitter as “Olympian, Professional Volleyball Player, USA Opposite #19, Model, but most importantly a child of God.”

Keep up with Destinee Hooker on social media:

Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

And you can even purchase all things Destinee Hooker, volleyball and otherwise, at destineehookervolleyball.com.

No wonder why last month Hooker Tweeted simply, “Love my fans.”

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