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 six straight non losing seasons for first time in program history in his first six 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.
In 2010, the Cougars posted a 5-5 overall record, 5-4 mark in the NJAC, as three of the team’s losses came at the hands of teams that advanced at least to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Kean faced four teams in the NCAA rankings during the 2010 season.
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.
Entering his 10th season on the sidelines at Kean, Keith Migliorino begins his fifth year as the defensive coordinator after serving as the inside linebackers coach for the first five years and the special teams coordinator for two seasons.
Under Migliorino's tutelage in 2010, the Cougar defense ranked in the top 20 in the nation in five different categories, including in the top 10 in pass efficiency defense, total defense, sacks and scoring defense. The Cougars, who also ranked in the top two in the New Jersey Athletic Conference in each of those categories, shattered the school record for fewest rushing yards allowed in a season, after limiting their opponents to just 916 yards rushing in 11 games.
In 2007, Kean's special teams ranked third in the NJAC in kickoff returns, punt returns and punting yardage.
A two-time all-NJAC linebacker during his four-year career at Montclair State University, Migliorino was a member of two NJAC Championship teams and made three trips to the NCAA Division III playoffs as a Red Hawk. A captain of the 2002 squad, Migliorino led the team in tackles (77), earning NJAC first-team and team defensive MVP honors.
Migliorino, who has been actively involved in local camps and clinics, earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Montclair State University in 2005.
|Title:||Special Teams Coordinator / Defensive Backs|
A three-year starter at defensive back for the Cougars, Dan D’Avanzo will begin his seventh season on sidelines for Kean as the defensive backs coach and is now in his fifth season as the special teams coordinator.
The Cougars have regularly ranked among the national leaders in interceptions and in special team categories over the last several years. In 2011, Kean averaged 24.2 yards per return, good first first in the NJAC and fifth in all of Division III. In addition, they tallied 20 interceptions, good for eighth in the division rankings. In 2010 the Cougars picked off their opponents 19 times to rank tied for second in the New Jersey Athletic Conference, while the Cougars ranked second in the NJAC in kickoff coverage. In 2009, the Cougars had 17 interceptions to lead the NJAC, while the kickoff return average of 23.4 yards per return led the conference and ranked 10th in the nation.
D’Avanzo earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education and health teacher certification from Kean in 2007 and is currently finishing up his master’s degree in exercise science at Kean.
Craig Cicardo joins the Cougar staff for his first season in 2012 as he handles the offensive coordinator duties.
Cicardo joins the program after various collegiate assistant coaching positions (McNeese State University-1989, Monmouth University-2004, The College of New Jersey-2011) in addition to his experience at the high school ranks as the head coach at Mater Dei (1990-2000) and Pinelands Regional (2000-2003). More recently he was the offensive coordinator at Lacey Township High School (2005-2010) as the Lions earned state championships in 2006 and 2010. Cicardo earned Football Coach of the Year honors from The Courier in both 1993 and 1999.
Cicardo competed at Fairleigh Dickinson University (Madison) from 1985-1988, from his quarterback position.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from FDU-Madison in 1989 and his Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from Kean University in 2009.
Joe Martucci joins the football coaching staff in his first season in 2012.
Martucci joins the Cougars after a highly successful high school coaching career as the head coach at Matawan High School. During his tenure (1984-2011) he coached the Huskies to an impressive 10 conference championships and five state championships, while compiling a 197-81-1 record. Prior to his head coaching position, he was also an assistant at Matawan for 11 seasons.
Martucci attended the University of Connecticut as a student-athlete after earning all-state honors during his teenager years at Matawan High School.
He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education and Health from UConn in 1972 and his Masters degree in Supervision and Administration from Kean in 1980.
After a highly successful high school coaching career, David McCombs enters his second season with the Cougars in 2012.
McCombs retired after 24 years at the helm at Malcolm X Shabazz High School, where he totaled 106 victories and led the Bulldogs to three Watchung Conference titles and 13 trips to the state playoffs, including two appearances in the state championship games. He was also named the Essex County Star Ledger Coach of the Year in Football and Track and Field.
Already a member of the New Jersey Scholastic Coaches Hall of Fame and Essex County Football Coaches Hall of Fame, McCombs was named a member of the Newark Hall of Fame in 2011.
A former New Jersey State Athletic Conference All-Star as a defensive back at William Paterson, McCombs is currently a teacher in the Newark Public School System and is the Head Boy’s Track and Field Coach at Malcolm X Shabazz High School. He resides in Maplewood, N.J., with his wife, Kendall, and their three children, David Jr., Maya and Brandon.
In his sixth year on the Cougar coaching staff, Matt Andzel will once again serve as a defensive line coach following a four-year playing career that concluded at The College of New Jersey.
Three years ago, the defensive line anchored a defense that set a new school record for fewest rushing yards allowed and ranked second in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.
A 2002 graduate of nearby Westfield High School, Andzel began his collegiate career at Stony Brook before transferring to TCNJ in 2004, where he earned the Hank Johns Award in 2005.
Andzel earned a Bachelor of Science degree in law and justice from TCNJ and a Master of Science degree in Exercise Science from Kean in 2012.
Entering his fourth season on the sidelines after a standout career for the Kean defense, Jake Pew will served as the outside linebackers coach this fall.
A four-year starter and two-time team captain, Pew was also a two-time New Jersey Athletic Conference all-star, earning first-team honors as a senior in 2008.
Pew earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in health and physical education teacher certification from Kean in December 2009.
Matt Kreider enters his second season as a graduate assistant on the defensive side of the ball after a four-year career at New Jersey Athletic Conference rival The College of New Jersey.
A three-year starter for the Lions at defensive back, Kreider received all-NJAC honorable mention accolades in 2010 and excelled in the classroom as he was also named a 2011 member of the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society.
Kreider, who was also named the TCNJ Paul “Coach Bones” Vichroski award winner, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Exercise Science/Teaching from TCNJ in 2011 and is currently enrolled in the exercise science master’s degree program at Kean.
Anthony Giordano enters his second season on the sidelines after a four-year career for the Cougars.
A three-year starter on special teams, Giordano was also the team’s back-up quarterback and threw for two touchdown passes in 2010.
Giordano received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Physical Education and Health from Kean in 2012 and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Special Education.
Sean Atkins enters his second season on the sidelines after a four-year career for the Cougars.
A three-time New Jersey Athletic Conference all-star, including a first team honoree at fullback in 2009, Atkins ranks tied for second in single-game history when he scored four rushing touchdowns against Western Connecticut State University in 2007.
Atkins received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Community Recreation from Kean in 2012.
George Williams begins his third season on the Kean coaching staff after a four-year career with the Cougars and a high school coaching stint.
A four-year letterwinner, primarily on defense, Williams spent the 2009 campaign coaching the defensive backs and assisting on special teams at Matawan Regional High School, as the Huskies finished 11-1 and captured the Central Jersey Group 2 State Championship.
Williams is currently completing is undergraduate degree in criminal justice at Kean.
Dave Galante transitions to the sidelines for his first season in 2012 as a student assistant.
Galante will instruct the offensive linemen after ending a four year career at Kean while playing the same position. He capped off his senior season with the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament. Off the field, Galante was inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma, the national student-athlete honor society in addition to being named to the New Jersey Athletic Conference all-academic team as a second-team member. This fall, he was named a member of the CoSIDA all-academic all-region team.
Galante is finishing his studies towards a degree in Physical Education and Health teacher certification.
Chris Suozzo joins the coaching staff for his first season in 2012.
A four-year letterwinner for the Cougars, Suozzo saw time on offense, defense and special teams in 32 games. On offense, he tallied 710 receiving yards with 10 touchdowns, including a career-high eight during his senior season. He will focus on coaching the wide receivers this season.
Suozzo is finishing his studies towards a degree in psychology from Kean.
Dave Vermeuel transitions to the sidelines for his first season in 2012.
Vermeuel was a three-year letterwinner for the Cougars, starting on the offense line in those three seasons. In 30 career games, he helped anchor a line that ranked among the nation’s leaders in fewest sacks allowed. During his junior campaign he was named an NJAC honorable mention all-star.
Vermeuel is completing his degree in biology from Kean.