Following three years as the Cougars’ defensive coordinator, Dan Garrett assumed the top spot at Kean University after being named the 2005 American Football Coaches Association Division III Assistant Coach of the Year. Garrett was named the head coach of the football program in July 2006, and he immediately made an impact turning the program around as the Cougars have recorded seven straight non losing seasons for first time in program history in his first seven years at the helm.
The football team had its most successful season in program history in 2011 after winning the New Jersey Athletic Conference title and earning the program's first trip to the NCAA playoffs, while winning a school-record 10 games. The Cougars, who defeated Montclair State University for the program's third NJAC title, defeated Christopher Newport University in the opening round of the NCAA playoffs, before dropping a heartbreaker in triple overtime to host Salisbury University. At the conclusion of the 2011 season the Cougars were ranked in two national polls as they finished with a #10 ranking in the D3football.com poll and #12 ranking in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Top 25 poll. For his efforts, Garrett was awarded NJAC Coach of the Year honors for the second time in six seasons.
Garrett guided the Cougars to a then-school record nine wins and came within one win of capturing the NJAC Championship in 2009. The Cougars capped the season with their second Eastern College Athletic Conference Southeast Bowl Championship in four years and only third title in program history.
In 2008, Garrett guided the Cougars to a 7-4 record, 6-3 in the NJAC and a berth in the Eastern College Athletic Conference South Atlantic Bowl Championship, the second time in three seasons the Cougars advanced to an ECAC Bowl Championship and just the program’s fourth ECAC appearance.
During his rookie season as a head coach in 2006, Kean finished 7-4 overall, 4-3 in the NJAC and captured just the second ECAC championship in program history, as Garrett was selected NJAC Coach of the Year by his peers. In 2007, the Cougars won three of their final four games, including a season-ending victory over NJAC co-champion The College of New Jersey, giving the NCAA tournament bound Lions their only conference loss of the season.
Immediately following a standout playing career at Montclair State University, during which he was a first team all-NJAC selection at linebacker and defensive end in 1995 and 1996, Garrett was invited to join the staff of longtime MSU head coach Rick Giancola. In both of his first two seasons on the staff, the Red Hawks added two victories to their previous total, winning eight games and the ECAC Southeast Championship in 1998.
The following year, Garrett received an even bigger opportunity when Giancola offered Garrett the chance to assume control of the defensive unit, an almost unheard of responsibility for someone of his age and relative experience. He eagerly accepted and became the youngest defensive coordinator in the NJAC at the age of 25.
Opposing offenses were quickly overwhelmed by the ferocity of his defense, which finished in the top five nationally in yards allowed in Garrett’s first year and helped the Red Hawks to their first NJAC title in a decade, followed by an encore in 2000. In his first four years on the job, Garrett’s unit finished the season ranked No. 1 in the NJAC in total defense.
Garrett took the defensive coordinator’s position at Kean prior to the 2003 season, a move that paid immediate dividends for the Cougar program. Upon his arrival, Kean’s defensive units were ranked among the NJAC and national leaders. In Garrett’s first season, the Cougars ranked first in the NJAC in pass defense and were second in the conference and 21st in the nation in total defense. In 2005, Kean ranked 33rd in the country in rushing defense, while also finishing second in the conference in turnover margin.
Garrett earned his Bachelor of Science degree in physical education in 1997 from Montclair State University. He and his wife Tammy reside in Ocean, N.J., with their sons, Shane and Jake.