Zane Vance begins his third season as the program’s linebackers coach and his second season as the Aggies’ recruiting coordinator. Vance was the linebackers coach under head coach Doug Martin while as Kent State.
In 2014, Vance coached Rodney Butler to a career-high and team-best 119 tackles, which included 58 solo tackles and 61 assisted tackles. This earned the linebacker Third Team honors on Phil Steele’s All-Sun Belt Conference list.
Vance coached the inside linebackers in 2013 and assisted Martin with the kickoff return and kickoff coverage teams. Under his guidance, inside linebacker Trashaun Nixon was named to the All-Independence Team in 2013. Nixon was second with 93 tackles and had a team-leading 13 tackles for loss and three sacks. 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. 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 where he guided 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 served as special teams coordinator.
Vance spent seven seasons with the Golden Flashes after joining the coaching staff as the inside linebackers coach prior to the 2004 season. Vance was also served as Kent State’s recruiting coordinator for two seasons, while handling special teams coordinator duties and working with the tight ends.
Vance’s 2009 signing class was rated 62nd in the country by Rivals.com — which was the top ranking 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 years as the special teams coordinator, linebackers and fullbacks coach with the Dobyns-Bennett H.S. football team in Kinsport, Tenn. During his tenure at Dobyns-Bennett from 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, Tenn. from 1993-95, where he led his team to the playoffs for the first time in fifteen years.
Vance began 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 letterwinner at East Tennessee State University in 1984 and a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1986. He continued his education at Austin Peay State University where he earned a master’s degree in health and physical education.
He and his wife Debbie have five sons, Nate, Taylor, Isaac, Seth and Luke.