One of the most innovative minds in the sport of basketball brings his approach and philosophy to UMass as Vance Walberg begins his third year with the Minutemen as an assistant coach. Walberg has been widely credited for bringing his dribble-drive system to the sport and has it succeed at the highest level in working with current Memphis and former UMass coach John Calipari. Walberg makes the move back east after 40 years on the west coast as a successful head coach for more than 30 years on the college, junior college and high school level.
"Vance brings an unbelievable knowledge for the game of basketball," said UMass head coach Derek Kellogg. "He has a tremendous enthusiasm, intensity and passion for what we are trying to do here at UMass in growing the basketball program. He is part of the reason why my career is where it is with us implementing his style of play and offense at Memphis. Not only is he a close personal friend, but he is also a person I trust and feel very confident in as a basketball coach. We are excited to have him on the staff. He is bringing an energy and enthusiasm and a style of play which will excite the fans, our players on the team, our recruits and everyone in the UMass community."
Walberg, who served as the head coach at Pepperdine University from 2006-08, is well-known for his system which was chronicled in Sports Illustrated in February 2008. Known as AASAA (Attack, Attack, Skip, Attack, Attack), Walberg spent 17 seasons building winning programs at Clovis West High School and Fresno City College prior to coaching the Waves for a year-and-a-half.
"Shoot, shoot and shoot some more," said Walberg in describing his system. "It's really very simple. What we do is I spread you out and attack the different gaps. We call it AASAA - Attack, Attack, Skip, Attack, Attack. Everybody gets a big plus out of it. It starts with the guards. The first thing we want them to do is come down and look to score. It's up to the guards to be able to break their man down. Once the breakdown process begins and whoever helps, that's where the kick goes. If we struggle, we reverse things and put it inside and it's time for the big guys to take over. It's really very simple."
In four years as head coach at Fresno City College from 2003-06, Walberg compiled a 133-11 (.924) record, including a perfect 34-0 mark and the California state community college championship in 2005. Using his AASAA offensive system, his teams regularly scored more than 100 points per game.
In addition, Walberg's Fresno City College teams won four straight Central Valley Conference titles, made four consecutive trips to the Northern California Playoffs, advanced to the Final Four of the state championships three times and appeared in the state title game in 2003 and 2005.
Walberg and his 2004-05 Rams became just the third team, and the first in 35 years, to post an undefeated season in California community college history. Fresno City College's 83-68 victory over San Bernardino College in the championship game also marked Walberg's 100th coaching victory at the school, a milestone he reached in just three years.
In 2005-06, Fresno City College went 33-6 and advanced to the semifinals of the state championships before falling 71-67 to Fullerton College at Selland Arena in Fresno, Calif.
Walberg was twice named California Community College Coach of the Year (2003 and 2005) and was tabbed the CVC Coach of the Year in each of his four seasons.
During a 13-year career (1990-2002) as head coach at Clovis West High School in Fresno, Calif., Walberg guided his teams to a 343-68 (.834) overall record, nine league titles, 10 CIF Central Section Championships appearances (including six titles) and three showings in the Southern State Championship Game. Clovis West earned Top 10 rankings in the state six times (1995, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001 and 2002) and was ranked nationally in the USA Today Top 25 in 2000 and 2001. The 2001 team finished the year ranked #12 nationally.
Prior to taking over at Clovis West, Walberg was head basketball coach at Newark (Calif.) Memorial High School for five seasons (1985-89). There, he won one league title and made two appearances in the CIF North Coast Section Championships. He also served as badminton coach at James Logan High School (1983-84) and head basketball coach at Los Altos High School (1981-83) and Mountain View High School (1978-81).
In 2001, Walberg was selected the Cal-Hi State Coach of the Year. He also earned league coach of the year honors nine times, section coach of the year on six occasions and was tabbed the California and West Region (Section 7) Coach of the Year in 1999.
Walberg, a 1974 graduate of Monta Vista High in Cupertino, Calif., was a two-year varsity letterwinner in basketball. He helped the Matadors to a league championship was named the team's Most Valuable Player.
In two seasons at De Anza Community College, he won two conference championships and concluded his career as the school's all-time steals leader. While at Cal State Bakersfield for the following two seasons, Walberg was twice named the school's Defensive Player of the Year and served as team captain his senior year.
Walberg's education includes a physical education degree from Cal-State Bakersfield in 1978, a teaching credential from the College of Belmont in 1979 and a master's degree in health, physical education and recreation from Saint Mary's College in 1986.
Walberg, 54, (born July 9, 1956), and his wife, Rose, have four children: Jason, 27, a former Fresno City College all-state selection and former player on the Pepperdine basketball team, who is now on the staff at Mephis under Calipari; Heather, 26, a Pepperdine Master's student; Jaimie-Rose, 24, who graduated from Pepperdine this spring; and Ian, 22, a junior at UMass.
The Walberg File