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Earl Bennett Ph.D.      

Executive Director of Player Development & Administration at Vanderbilt University

Earl Bennett is a path maker whose resilience was forged in his childhood. Growing up in the Kingston housing projects, he attended West End High School in Birmingham, Alabama, where he excelled in the classroom and on the football field. Bennett became a two-time football All-State player and received several Division 1 scholarships.

He enrolled in the prestigious Vanderbilt University on a football scholarship, where he diligently studied for his classes and became even more determined to achieve his dream of becoming a professional football player. While Bennett may have initially considered himself an average player, his work ethic to gain every possible edge – studying his opponents, learning every player position, spending his summers catching 30-40mph tennis balls one-handed– as a wide receiver made him exceptional. So outstanding, that by the time he left Vanderbilt, Bennett had rewritten the history book, becoming the all-time SEC leader in reception, an All-American, and a three-time All-SEC performer.

In 2008, after three years at the collegiate level, Bennett was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the third round. He would go on to have a successful six-year career in the National Football League (NFL). In 2014, Bennett retired and returned to Vanderbilt University to complete his undergraduate degree, followed by his master’s degree. In 2022, he earned his doctorate from the University of Houston.

Currently, Bennett is the Executive Director of Player Development and Administration at Vanderbilt University with expertise in the following areas: Strategic Planning; Student Affairs; Alumni Relations; Diversity & Equity; Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL); Fundraising; Project Management; Community Engagement; Compliance; Academic Support; Crisis Management; Recruiting; and Staff Development.

Bennett has received numerous honors and recognition, including All-SEC (2005-2007), All- American (2006), Vanderbilt Dean’s List (2015), Vanderbilt Hall of Fame (2017).

Bennett continues to fearlessly strive for excellence in his personal and professional life. He is boldly looking toward the future and is dedicated to imparting life lessons to students, athletes and company/organization leadership on ways to gain the maverick and pathfinding mindset to reach the pinnacle of their aspirations.

Speech Topics

  • College
  • Diversity
  • Education
  • Leadership
  • Culture (Corporate and Team Culture)
  • Motivation and Sports

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