Zane Vance begins his second season as the program’s linebackers coach and his first season as the Aggies’ recruiting coordinator. Vance was the linebackers coach under coach Martin while as Kent State.
Vance coached the inside linebackers in 2013, while assisting head coach Doug Martin with the kickoff return and kickoff coverage teams. Under his guidance, inside linebacker Trashaun Nixon was named to the All-Independence team selection in 2013. Nixon was second on the team with 93 tackles and a team leading 13 tackles for a loss and three sacks, which also led the Aggies. As a group, the inside linebackers recorded 225 tackles, 23 tackles for a loss and five sacks. Vance also helped Bryan Bonilla rank third on the team with 75 tackles. Clint Barnard rank fourth on the team in tackles with 67, including 2.5 tackles for a loss and a sack. As a unit, the inside linebackers, recorded 96 tackles in 2013.
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.