Earl Chambers, the current assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the Panther football team, has been named the program's new head coach. Former head coach Steve Pardue has resigned to pursue other opportunities.
Pardue coached one season, 2017, in which the Panthers finished 4-6. He replaced Matt Mumme, who coached for three seasons and part of a fourth.
Training camp opens on Aug. 9.
"Earl has an incredible track record with football in the state," said athletic director Jennifer Claybrook. "His experience on the Division I and II levels combined with his years here at LaGrange have prepared him to hit the ground running.
"We're thrilled for someone who knows our program and our players so well to step into this leadership role."
Chambers says the new post fulfills his dreams at a place he has come to love.
"I couldn't be more excited about this opportunity," he said. "I've learned a great deal from watching Matt (Mumme) and Steve (Pardue) as head coaches. I'm happy to take the reins of this great program, and I'm happy for my family because I believe LaGrange College is a special place.
"I also would like to thank athletic director Jennifer Claybrook and president Dan McAlexander for giving me the opportunity to be LC's head football coach."
Chambers has been the defensive coordinator on the LaGrange football staff for the past four seasons after working at NCAA Division I FCS member James Madison. He is a Georgia native, playing four sports at Banneker High School in College Park, while earning honorable mention All-State in football by both the Associated Press and by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a senior quarterback.
Chambers played collegiate football at Georgia, graduating with a degree in psychology in 1999. He had 41 tackles and four pass breakups as a senior, and the Bulldogs went 33-11 overall, including a 3-1 record in bowl games, during his time there.
After graduation, Chambers was a graduate assistant coach for five seasons for the Bulldogs before going to NCAA Division II member Valdosta State. He worked as the defensive line coach for eight seasons, during which the Blazers won two national championships and made five national playoff appearances. He served as co-defensive coordinator during the 2012 national championship season. Chambers coached three All-Americans and 10 all-conference players at Valdosta State.
Chambers is married to the former Tonya Bell of Cuba, Alabama, and is the father of four children, Eariona, Jordan, Evelyn and Emily.
The Panthers begin their fall football workouts on Aug. 9, with their first game set for Aug. 30 at Birmingham-Southern.