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Friday, May 24, 2024

William & Mary Selects Brian Earl to Lead Tribe Men’s Basketball

The Cornell Men’s Basketball team competes against Brown in Newman Arena in Ithaca, NY on Feb. 24. (Courtesy of Tribe Athletics)

WILLIAMSBURG — William & Mary Athletics Director Brian D. Mann announced today that Cornell University head coach Brian Earl will take the reins of men’s basketball at W&M. Earl becomes the 32nd head coach in the Tribe’s 119-year history. He will be formally introduced to the Tribe community at date to determined in the Zable Stadium President’s Suite.

The 1999 Ivy League Player of the Year at Princeton, Earl joins W&M after spending the last seven seasons as the head coach at Cornell, where he led the Big Red to numerous offensive milestones and its first-ever NIT bid this year.

“Our applicant pool for this position was outstanding,” said Mann, “and Brian Earl’s background of successfully playing and coaching at top academic institutions vaulted him to the top of our list. His teams have been extremely well coached and competitive in the Ivy League and beyond.  Brian is incredibly excited about our program and the opportunities for winning here, and we are delighted he will be leading the Tribe toward achieving the goals we have set for the program.”

“I am extremely honored to be joining the William & Mary family,” Earl said. “My entire coaching career has been spent working at high-academic institutions with exceptional student-athletes, and I found that combination again here in Williamsburg. My family and I look forward to immersing ourselves in the University and the community with the goal of building a basketball program that students, faculty, fans and alumni will be proud of.”

In the recently concluded 2023-24 season, Earl led the Big Red to 22 wins, tied for second-most in school history, and Cornell’s first-ever bid to the NIT, where they lost a nailbiter to Ohio State by five points. The team ranked 17th in the nation in scoring offense (82.1 points per game), 8th in assists per game (17.9) and 10th in 3-pointers made per game (10.3).  The Big Red finished the regular season with an RPI of 49. Earl was named the National Basketball Coaches Association District 13 Coach of the Year.

Earl and the Big Red compiled a record 31-5 in home games over the past three seasons, including a perfect 15-0 non-conference mark.

Earl’s 2022-23 team posted 17 wins and led the Ivy League in 11 categories while ranking in the top 10 nationally in scoring offense, assists, bench points, fast break points, steals and 3-pointers made and attempted.

In his seven seasons in Ithaca, Earl led the Big Red to four Ivy League Tournament appearances (top four earn a tournament berth). Additionally, this year’s NIT appearance was its first postseason appearance since the Big Red were in the Sweet 16 in 2010 and when they qualified for the 2019 CIT Tournament.

Earl entered the coaching profession in 2007 after four years as an account executive at Sallie Mae. Former teammate Sydney Johnson asked him to join his staff at their alma mater.  He served as an assistant and associate head coach at Princeton over nine seasons, during which the Tigers posted a 143-69 overall record and a 72-26 record in Ivy League play, winning 20 or more games five times.

During his playing career at Princeton, Earl set the Ivy League record of 281 3-pointers and won 95 games in four seasons, a mark that remains an Ivy League record. The Tigers earned a postseason bid in each of his four seasons, including a win over UCLA in the 1996 NCAA Tournament and a victory over UNLV in the 1998 tournament as the East Region’s No. 5 seed.

Earl graduated from Princeton with a degree in economics in 1999.  Deciding he wasn’t finished with playing, he continued his career in the United States Basketball League and the Eastern Basketball Alliance, then played in Germany and England from 1999-2002.

Earl comes from a strong basketball family. His father, Denny, was a starting forward for Rutgers where he played with the late Jim Valvano. His brother Dan played at Penn State and is the head coach at Chattanooga. Earl and his brother are one of five active sets of brothers directing Division I programs, joining Bryce and Scott Drew, Bobby and Danny Hurley, Joe and James Jones and Archie and Sean Miller.

Earl and his wife Jennifer have three sons, Dylan, Owen, and Cooper.

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