Men's Basketball Names Early as Assistant Coach
April 7, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. - NC State men's basketball coach Mark Gottfried officially announced today that Orlando Early has joined the Wolfpack staff as an assistant coach. Early spent four seasons as an assistant under Gottfried at Alabama (2001-05), helping the Crimson Tide reach the NCAA Tournament all four years.
"Orlando was on my staff for four years at Alabama and he is one of the best assistants I've ever had," said Gottfried. "He played a vital role during our most successful years, including our run to the Elite Eight in 2004.
"He's been a successful head coach - he was the coach of the year in the Sun Belt Conference. He's also a tremendous recruiter and will have a great relationship with our players. I'm very excited to have him join us here at NC State."
Early spent four seasons (2001-05) as an assistant under Gottfried at Alabama. The Crimson Tide topped the 20-win mark three times, posted a combined 88-41 record, advanced to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, held a No. 1 national ranking, won an SEC regular-season championship and made an NCAA Elite Eight appearance with Early on the bench. His work as an assistant coach was recognized on a national level in 2004, as Athlon Sports named him the third-best assistant coach in the nation.
Early joins the Wolfpack after serving one season as an assistant coach at South Carolina. Prior to that he spent the previous five seasons as the head coach at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
"I am really excited to join Coach Gottfried once again and be part of his staff," said Early. "We had a great four years at Alabama, and we are hoping to duplicate that success. I am excited to be coaching in the ACC, and looking forward to once again bringing success here to NC State."
Early led Louisiana-Monroe to a 60-92 record during his five-year tenure, including a 43-24 mark in home contests. He led a squad that was heavily affected by Hurricane Katrina to a 10-18 mark during his first season (2005-06), and followed that with an 18-14 record in 2006-07 - the program's first winning season since 2001-02. His sophomore squad collected a 14-0 mark in home contests and a share of the Sun Belt Conference West Division title in the program's first season in the league.
For his efforts, Early was named Coach of the Year by four different outlets, including the Sun Belt Conference, Louisiana Association of Basketball Coaches, the Louisiana Sports Writers Association and National Association of Basketball Coaches (District 8 Coach of the Year). He also concluded the season as a finalist for the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year award.
Early began his coaching career at his alma mater, Gardner-Webb, serving as an assistant from 1993-95. He followed with a three-year stint at Western Carolina. He was an assistant coach in 1996, when the Catamounts captured the Southern Conference Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. He served as associate head coach during his last two years at Western Carolina.
Early followed his term at WCU by continuing to climb the coaching ladder, spending three seasons (1998-01) as an assistant at Charlotte under head coach Bobby Lutz. He helped the 49ers to a pair of Conference USA titles, two NCAA Tournament appearances and an NIT appearance.
Early and his wife, Jualeah, have three children, Nakita, Storm and Erica.