Arriving in Vermont in 2001, the veteran coach returns for his 14th season at Middlebury and his sixth season as the Panthers’ offensive coordinator. Since 2009, the Middlebury offense owns 10 first-place spots in the national rankings, including: completions per game (five times), fewest fumbles lost (0 in 2013), and fewest tackles for loss allowed in 2012. Additionally, the Panthers hold an eye-popping 27 more offensive production marks in the NCAA’s top 10 rankings.
2014 marks Early’s ninth season leading the offensive line and the field-goal unit. Beyond working with two All-NESCAC placekickers, including current NFL standout Steven Hauschka (’07), he tutored a number of all-conference linemen. Two linemen earned All-American status including former Panther Ryan Moores (’13), who earned an NFL try-out with the Atlanta Falcons.
After a record-breaking 2012 season, Early was in the national spotlight, receiving the prestigious AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year Award for his efforts on the field and in the community. The prolific Panther offense set 13 school records in 2012, leading all of NCAA Division III football in three categories: individual receiving yards per game (141.75), completions per game (32.00), and the allowing the fewest tackles for loss allowed per game (2.63). The offense also earned a pair of second-place finishes nationally: individual receptions per game (10.38) and team passing yards (371.38), while sitting in the top 15 in 10 more offensive categories.
He began his collegiate coaching career in 1996 at the University of Chicago, after two seasons he moved to Hamilton College where he coached the receivers and worked with special teams while assisting the Continental baseball program. After a season at Brockport coaching the receivers, he worked at Swarthmore in 2000, coaching the first-ever 1,000 yard rusher and assisting with special teams. Early arrived in Middlebury in 2001, and coached the defensive line for four seasons.
The Schenectady, New York native graduated from the University at Albany with a degree in rhetoric and communication, holding a master’s degree in education from Peru State. Early also works with the Athletic Communications Office, managing game statistics and press releases for numerous Middlebury sporting events. He is also an adviser for Middlebury’s Newman Club. Away from Middlebury, Early makes time to volunteer for a number of local and national charities where he fundraises and assists local children, senior citizens, the disabled, as well as military veterans.