Dribble-drive creator resigns at UMass

The resignation of a Massachusetts assistant coach normally wouldn't rate as big news, but then again, Vance Walberg isn't the ordinary coach.

He's credited with creating the dribble-drive motion offense that has been adapted and popularized by John Calipari, who has used the system to take Memphis and Kentucky to the Final Four.

Walberg stepped aside Wednesday to pursue other opportunities with UMass coming off a 15-15 season. "Vance did a terrific job working with the team over the last three seasons," Minutemen coach Derek Kellogg said in a statement. "He served an integral role in our transition as a coaching staff and I wish him luck in his new endeavors."

According to The Republican, the offense simply wasn't working for UMass.

What worked for Memphis never clicked at UMass, which has gone 39-53 in the last three years.

The new style seemed to confuse players who were unfamiliar with it. Each year, Kellogg wound up tweaking and simplifying dribble drive in midseason, usually with an uptick in results.

This season, UMass will display a more conventional fast-break offense, according to Kellogg. He said some aspects of dribble drive, notably spacing of players, will be retained.

But Walberg's innovative attacking offense that highlights play-making abilities has found success at other programs, and if Kentucky wins a national championship, Walberg deserves some credit.

After all, it ended up being a big moment in college basketball when Walberg met with Calipari over dinner in 2003, according to Sports Illustrated.

Calipari asked Walberg something that no other coach had bothered to ask him. "So tell me, Vance," he said, "what do you run?"

Walberg laughed. "You don't want to know," he replied. "It's a little bit off-the-wall."

"No, really," Calipari said. "Show me."

And so, using a pepper shaker as the basket, white sugar packets as offensive players and pink Sweet'n Low packets as defenders, Walberg explained his quirky creation, a high-scoring scheme featuring four perimeter players and a host of innovations.