Citing personal and family reasons, Walberg resigns from Pepperdine

Updated: January 17, 2008, 3:37 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Pepperdine men's basketball coach Vance Walberg has resigned from his position, effective immediately, the school announced Thursday afternoon.

Walberg cited personal and family reasons for his resignation.

The resignation was first reported by ESPN.com's Andy Katz.

"Vance came to me this morning and told me that this is what he needed to do," athletic director John Watson said. "I'm sorry this had to happen like this, but it's more important that he take care of his personal matters at this time. We'll move forward as best we can. Our concern now is for our student-athletes and making sure that they can handle this transition period in the best manner possible."

Walberg, who was hired in April 2006 from Fresno City College, said: "I'd like to thank Dr. John Watson and Dr. Andrew Benton for the opportunity to come here. This is a beautiful place. It just comes down to what I need to do personally and what's best for my family. I'd like to thank the entire Pepperdine community for their support. We have a lot of good people here. We've got some really good kids on this team and I wish them well."

Eric Bridgeland, in his second year as an assistant coach at Pepperdine, will take over as interim head coach. Bridgeland was a head coach for seven seasons at the Division II and Division III levels and posted an overall record of 115-65 (.639).

"This is not how we drew it up, but we're going to make the best of it," Bridgeland said. "The most important task at hand is to pull our family together and make sure every individual team member is OK. We've got a young, resilient group and we'll move forward as best we can."

Pepperdine is 6-12 this season and fell to 0-2 in the West Coast Conference following Monday's 92-57 loss to Gonzaga in Malibu, Calif.

The Waves' season began ignominiously when Kingsley Costain, their top returning scorer, was dismissed from the school for a violation of university policy.

Walberg's overall record at Pepperdine was 8-23. He went 133-11 at Fresno City College from 2003 to 2006, and won the 2005 state championship. He was 481-159 in 22 seasons as a high school coach prior to that.

In five seasons at Puget Sound (2002-06), Bridgeland's teams captured three consecutive Northwest Conference championsips (2004-06), advanced to the Division III NCAA Tournament round of 16 in 2004 and 2005, and the final eight in 2006.

Bridgeland was named Northwest Conference Coach of the Year following the 2003-04 and 2005-06 seasons. He also coached at NCAA Division II UC Santa Cruz for two seasons (1999-2000 and 2000-01).

Andy Katz covers college basketball for ESPN.com.

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