HARRISONBURG, Va. – James Madison University football has named Earl Chambers as its new assistant coach, Head Coach Mickey Matthews announced. Chambers will take over as the tight ends coach, replacing Latrell Scott who left to become the head coach at Virginia State.
“We are thrilled to have Earl join our staff,” Matthews said. “I have known him since he played for us at Georgia and he has really developed as a great on-the-field coach as well as an outstanding recruiter. We are excited to have him and his family as a part of the JMU Nation.”
“I am extremely thrilled to be a part of the JMU family,” Chambers said. “I want to thank Coach Matthews for giving me this opportunity and I am excited to be working for my position coach from college.”
Chambers recently completed his eighth season as the defensive line coach for the Valdosta State Blazers, helping lead the squad to a 12-2 record last year and the 2012 NCAA Division II National Championship, the second in his tenure at VSU. After previously serving as the Blazers’ Recruiting Coordinator and Director of Football Operations, Chambers’ expertise in teaching the defensive game was further rewarded prior to the 2012 as he was named Co-Defensive Coordinator for VSU. During his time at Valdosta, the Blazers posted a combined 71-22 record with five playoff appearances.
During his time with the Blazers, Chambers coached 10 All-Gulf South selections as well as three All-American honorees. In 2006, the Blazer defense setting a school record for fewest points and total yards allowed. Chambers’ experience and ability to teach the game of football was once again evident in 2007 as his unit was instrumental in the Blazers winning the Division II National Championship. His teaching helped the defensive line accounted for 23.5 of VSU’s 38 sacks on the year while totaling 53 tackles for loss. Under Chambers’ guidance, the young group, which featured eight freshman and two sophomore out of the 16 players to see time on the defensive line during the season, improved considerably over the course of the season and was instrumental in holding Northwest Missouri State’s Xavier Omon, who was averaging 236 yards a game in the playoffs, to just 63 yards in the national title game.
Chambers joined the Valdosta State staff from the University of Georgia, where he spent five years as a graduate assistant. Chambers spent his first year on the Bulldog staff as a recruiting assistant, helping to evaluate position recruits as well as coordinating official visits. His final four seasons, Chambers served as an assistant with the UGA defensive staff and as video coordinator. His defensive duties involved Chambers with the defensive line and allowed him to coach the team’s offensive and special teams scout players. He also worked as an academic mentor, assisting the Bulldogs as they worked towards their college degrees.
Georgia was 50-14 during Chambers’ five seasons on the coaching staff and made bowl appearances all five years. The Bulldogs won the Southeastern Conference in 2002 and were the Sugar Bowl Champions that year while winning the SEC East title in 2003. UGA won the O’ahu Bowl his first season, the Capital One Bowl in 2003 and the Outback Bowl in his final year while appearing in the Music City Bowl in 2001. He coached three NFL first round draft picks in his five seasons with the school, including Jonathan Sullivan, Charles Grant and David Pollack.
Chambers’ five years on the coaching staff at Georgia completed a 10-year run with the program, which also saw him star at strong safety from 1995 through 1999, including a red-shirt year in 1996. He registered 41 tackles and four pass breakups his senior season and aided the Bulldogs to an Outback Bowl title that year. Overall, UGA was 33-11 in his four years of action, including a 3-1 mark in bowl games.
In addition to his playing duties, Chambers served on the SEC Council, UGA Athletic Board and the Faculty Committee during the 1996-97 school year. He also served two years on Georgia’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee during his undergraduate years. Chambers graduated from UGA with a degree in psychology in 1999 and is currently working on his master’s in sport management.
Chambers was a standout athlete in high school, lettering in four sports and starting at both quarterback and defensive back for Banneker High School. He was named Honorable Mention All-State by both the Associated Press and by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a senior.
A member of the American Football Coaches Association, Chambers is married to the former Tonya Bell of Cuba, Alabama and is the father of three children, Eariona, 18, Jordan, 6 and Evelyn, 4.