Now in his second year, Dan Earl is making his mark on VMI basketball after transitioning to a new style of play in his debut season. The Keydet players took hold of the new system that emphasized defense and shot selection as its core components, and finished on a strong note by winning three of their last four home games. Now with a year in the system, the VMI basketball team will enter 2016-17 with a firm foundation of the Earl system and will work to convert that into more wins and an upward push in the SoCon standings.
Dan Earl was named head VMI basketball coach on April 12, 2015. Earl came to VMI from the United States Naval Academy where he was Associate Head Coach since the 2011-12 season. His duties included serving as recruiting director, scheduling, scouting of opponents, game preparation and player development.
While at Navy, Earl used his experience as a dynamic recruiter to draw several talented student-athletes to Annapolis that were instrumental in the Midshipmen doubling conference wins in each of the first four seasons under head coach Ed DeChellis. Navy posted eight Patriot League wins in 2014-15 and defeated rival Army three times which included a conference tournament victory over the Cadets.
Earl directed the Navy offensive sets and played a vital role in increasing scoring output of key offensive players. On the defensive side, Navy ranked 57th in the country in scoring defense in 2013-14 and had the second lowest turnover total in school history.
Earl became the 28th head coach in VMI program history that dates back to 1908-09.
Earl starred on the basketball court at Penn State where he helped the Nittany Lions to one of the most prolific winning periods in the mid-90’s before spending six years from 2006-11 on the staff at Penn State as an assistant coach.
While coaching at his alma mater, Earl helped the Nittany Lions to a NCAA Tournament berth in 2011 –the program’s first in 10 years - and the 2009 NIT Championship squad that posted wins over national powers Florida, Notre Dame, and Baylor. The 2009 Penn State team won a school record 27 games and the program also attained an NIT berth in 2007.
As an assistant coach at Penn State, Earl played a key role in recruiting outstanding talent that fueled the program’s success as he served as lead recruiter on all-Big 10 guard Tim Frazier. Earl also helped develop All-Big 10 selection Talor Battle who became the first player in Big 10 history to eclipse 2,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 500 assists.
As a starting point guard under head coach Bruce Parkhill and then assistant coach Ed DeChellis, Earl battled injuries throughout his career but finished six years later with 1,256 points (15th all-time at the time), 574 assists (no. 2 all time), 194 career three-pointers (7th all-time) and 491 3-point attempts (7th all-time). He totaled two of the top season school marks in assists.
During his college playing career, Earl helped Penn State to perhaps the best five-year stretch in school history as the Nittany Lions posted a record of 73-46 that including a 48-13 home mark. He served as team captain three times and helped Penn State to the 1995 NIT and a 1996 NCAA Tournament appearance from a squad that went 21-7 and earned a top 10 national ranking. Earl earned All-Big Ten honors twice and was a two-time Academic All-American.
Earl received a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Penn State in December, 1997 and earned a master’s degree in business logistics at Penn State in 2007.
Following graduation, Earl played professionally in Germany, Poland, Portugal, and also played stateside in the Continental Basketball Association and NBA’s Development League with the Roanoke (Va.) Dazzle in 2001-02. Earl participated in two New Jersey Nets NBA pre-seasons in 2001-02 and 2002-03.
Earl also co-owned and operated Next Level Basketball Camps from 2001-05 which conducted camps and clinics in New Jersey.
The Earl family has deep roots in basketball as father Denny was a starting forward for Rutgers in the mid 60’s where he played under head coach Bill Foster and alongside the late Jim Valvano. Dan’s younger brother, Brian, started for Princeton from 1996-99 and helped the Tigers to 95 wins – the most of any player in school history. Brian currently serves as an assistant coach at Princeton.
Dan and his wife, Sheila, were married in the summer of 2008 and have two daughters, Mila and Alyssa.