Pardue exits as Panthers’ football coach

Published 2:19 pm Thursday, July 12, 2018


Daily News

When the LaGrange College Panthers open their season in September, there’ll be a new man in charge.

Steve Pardue has stepped down after one season as the Panthers’ head coach, and his replacement will be Earl Chambers, who has been the team’s defensive coordinator for the past four years.

The news broke on Wednesday afternoon, and athletics director Jennifer Claybrook said in a story posted on the LaGrange College website that Chambers “has an incredible track record with football in the state.”

“His experience on the Division I and Division II levels combined with his years here at LaGrange have prepared him to hit the ground running,” Claybrook added. “We’re thrilled for someone who knows our program and our players so well to step into this leadership role.”

Chambers has been the defensive coordinator under the two previous head coaches, Matt Mumme and Pardue.

“I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity,” Chambers said. “I’ve learned a great deal from watching Matt and Steve 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 think athletic director Jennifer Claybrook and President Dan McAlexander for giving me the opportunity to be LC’s head football coach.”

Chambers played his prep football at Banneker High in College Park, and he went on to excel as a player at the University of Georgia.

During his four years as a player, the Bulldogs were 33-11, and they were 3-1 in bowl games.

Chambers’ best season was in 1999 when he had 41 tackles.

After his playing days were done, Chambers was a part of the Georgia coaching staff for five years.

Chambers then went to Valdosta State where he was a coach for eight years, and he was a part of two national-championship teams on the Division II level.

After a stop at James Madison as an assistant coach, Chambers joined the LaGrange College staff before the 2014 season.

LaGrange College will begin preseason practice on Aug. 9, and it will open the season on Aug. 30 with a road game against Birmingham-Southern.

The Panthers went 4-6 last season and were 3-4 in the USA South.

It was the most win the Panthers had since the 2014 season when they finished 5-5.

Chambers will be the fourth head coach in the history of the program.

Todd Mooney was LaGrange College’s first head coach, and he remained in that position from 2006 until 2013 when he stepped down seven games into the season.

Mumme was the head coach for the final three games in 2013 and through the 2016 season when he left to become the offensive coordinator at Nevada.

Pardue came to LaGrange College after an exceptional coaching career on the high-school level.

Pardue spent 20 seasons as LaGrange’s head coach, and he compiled a 161-45 record and won three state championships.

After a stop at Kentucky as an assistant coach, Pardue returned to the high-school game and had a 24-9 record in three seasons at East Coweta.