New Mexico State head football coach Doug Martin announced Thursday that Zane Vance has been hired as the program’s linebackers coach. Vance was the linebackers coach under coach Martin while as Kent State.
“I’m honored to be considered and very excited about the opportunity to coach at New Mexico State and be a part of Coach Martin’s staff,” Vance said. “I really enjoyed my time while interviewing in Las Cruces. I think New Mexico State is full of potential and I’m glad to have the opportunity to be a part it.”
“Coach Vance and I go back about 25 years when we had our first jobs together at East Tennessee State,” Martin said. “He was the first coach I hired when I was named the head coach at Kent State. He is one of the best recruiters I’ve ever been around in 28 years of coaching. Coach Vance brings a lot of experience to our defensive staff at the linebacker position.”
Most recently, Vance was the head coach for The Master’s Academy in Oviedo, Fla., in 2012. During that season, Vance guides his team to a 9-3 record and the Sunshine State Athletic Conference Championship. In 2011, He was an assistant coach at Cuyohoga Valley Christian Academy in Stow, Ohio, coaching the linebacker and serving as special teams coordinator.
Vance spent seven seasons on the Golden Flashes’ coaching staff after joining the program prior to the start of the 2004 season as the inside linebackers coach. Vance was also served as Kent State’s recruiting coordinator for two season, while handling special teams coordinator duties and working with the tight ends.
His tenure as recruiting coordinator got off to a flying start as the Flashes’ 2009 signing class was rated 62nd in the country by Rivals.com — tops in the Mid-American Conference and the highest in the history of the program.
In his role as linebackers coach, he mentored Derek Burrell to a pair of All-MAC honors after he posted 112 and 119 tackles in back-to-back seasons. Vance came to Kent State following eight successful years as the special teams coordinator, linebackers and fullbacks coach with the Dobyns-Bennett H.S. football team in Kinsport, Tennessee. During his tenure at Dobyns-Bennett, 1996-03, the team captured the Big East Conference title in seven of eight seasons. Prior to his position at Dobyns-Bennett, Vance served as head coach of the Unicoi County H.S. football team in Erwin, Tennessee from 1993-95. In his time there, he led his team to the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years.
He started his coaching career at his alma mater, East Tennessee State University. There he served as the defensive line coach from 1987-91, where he was able to coach two future NFL players.
Vance was a letter winner at East Tennessee State University in 1984 where he earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1986. He continued his education at Austin Peay State University, earning a master’s degree in health and physical education. He and his wife Debbie have five sons, Nate, Taylor, Isaac, Seth and Luke.
ZANE VANCE’S COACHING EXPERIENCE
Seasons School Position(s):
2004-present Kent State Rec. Coord./Assistant Coach
1996-03 Dobyns-Bennett HS Special Teams Coord.
1993-95 Unicoi County HS Head Coach
1987-91 East Tennessee State Assistant Coach
1981-84 East Tennessee State Defensive Line