Pepperdine hires ex-high school, juco coach Walberg

Updated: April 18, 2006, 7:50 PM ET
SportsTicker

MALIBU, Calif. -- A coach with NBA experience couldn't get it done at Pepperdine, so the school has gone to a coach with experience on a different level.

Pepperdine on Tuesday announced that Vance Walberg has been named men's basketball coach for the Waves. He becomes the 12th coach in the 68-year history of the program.

Walberg, who built winning programs at California's Clovis West High School and Fresno City College during the past 17 years, replaces Paul Westphal, who was fired on March 15 after five seasons here.

Westphal, a former NBA coach with the Phoenix Suns and Seattle SuperSonics, had four winning seasons with the Waves, including a 22-9 record during the 2001-02 season that culminated with a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

But while West Coast Conference rival Gonzaga went from a mid-major unknown to a national power, Pepperdine was unable to build on the momentum of its NCAA bid. In his five seasons with the Waves, Westphal posted a record of 86-66 but was just 1-11 against the Bulldogs.

Walberg takes over a program that has posted consecutive 17-14 seasons and has not been back to the postseason in four years. Walberg spent the previous four years as coach at Fresno City College, where he compiled a 133-11 (.924) record, including a perfect 34-0 mark and the California State Championship in 2005.

"After a thorough national search in which we interviewed several qualified candidates, I am happy to announce the hiring of Vance Walberg as Pepperdine's new head men's basketball coach," Pepperdine athletic director John Watson said. "He has a proven track record of developing winning programs at both the high school and junior college levels, and I am confident he can build upon the great tradition that Pepperdine men's basketball has enjoyed throughout its history.

"We are excited to welcome Vance to the Pepperdine family as he fits in extremely well with our mission and we look forward to supporting him as he makes the transition to Division I basketball," Watson said.

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