One of Penn State's most respected and admired basketball alumni, Dan Earl returned to the Nittany Lions as a member of the coaching staff in 2005 and is in his sixth season as an assistant coach.
Earl began his Penn State career in 1993-94, starting at point guard under head coach Bruce Parkhill and assistant Ed DeChellis. The native of Medford Lakes, N.J., left Penn State six seasons later, following several injuries, with 1,256 career points (15th all-time), 574 assists (second all-time), 194 career three-pointers (seventh all-time), and 491 three-point attempts (seventh all-time). He posted two of Penn State's top 10 single-season assist totals, was a three-time team captain, ran the point for a top 10 ranked NCAA Tournament team and twice earned All-Big Ten recognition.
Earl averaged 8.4 ppg and recorded 113 assists, a freshman record that held for a decade, in his first season in Blue and White and was a member of the Big Ten Touring team in the summer.
The next year, he helped lead Penn State to a 21-11 record and a 9-9 mark in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions advanced to the 1995 National Invitation Tournament semifinal round at Madison Square Garden, where Earl was named to the NIT All-tournament Team. Earl averaged 9.3 ppg and dished off 181 assists, a Penn State season record, for the year and won the Penn State Coaches Award.
In 1995-96, Earl helmed the point for Penn State's NCAA Tournament team and the first Nittany Lion squad to earn a top 10 national ranking. Penn State went 21-7 and posted a best-ever 12-6 mark in Big Ten play to finish second. The Lions earned a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Earl earned All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten honors while averaging 11.7 ppg and posting 150 assists and 53 steals. Earl was named Penn State's Most Inspirational Player.
Earl took a medical redshirt for the 1996-97 season to rehabilitate a lower back injury. He took the floor at the start of the 1997-98 campaign and played the first five games before a knee injury appeared to end his career. However, the NCAA granted Earl an extra year of eligibility. He returned in 1998-99 to average a career-best 13.4 ppg and post 111 assists. He was again an All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten honoree and earned third team Academic All-America honors. He was named co-MVP and Most Inspirational player at the team's award banquet and took home the Scholastic Achievement Award.
Earl went on to play professionally in Germany, Poland and Portugal, played in both the Continental Basketball Association and the NBA's Developmental League and was a member of the New Jersey Nets' training camp roster in 2001-02 and 2002-03. He also was co-owner of the Next Level Basketball Camp, conducting camps and clinics in New Jersey.
Earl received a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Penn State in December of 1997 and played his final season as a graduate student. He earned his master's degree in business logistics at Penn State in 2007. Earl also is a former member of the Fiscal Integrity Team for the NCAA Certification Committee and the Student-Athlete Advisory Board. Dan and his wife, Sheila, were married in the summer of 2008.