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 recorded seven straight non losing seasons for first time in program history in his first seven years at the helm.
In 2015 and 2016 the football program combined for 15 wins (8 and 7 respectively) and claimed two ECAC Presidents Bowl Championships and defeated every school from New Jersey on the schedule.
In his 11 seasons, the Cougars have won 67 games. Garrett led the team to its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory and its third NJAC Championship, and has also guided three ECAC Southeast Bowl Championship teams.
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, Jake and Danny.
Matt Kreider returns to the Kean University football staff for his fourth season in Union in 2017. Previously, the Delran, New Jersey native served as the Kean defensive graduate assistant from 2011-13 and helped lead the Cougars to the 2011 NJAC title.
Most recently, he was defensive coordinator at Lakeland Regional High School and helped lead the Lancers from 2013 to 2015.
Kreider earned his master’s degree in special education from Kean’s Nathan Weiss Graduate College with a 4.0 GPA in 2013. As an undergrad, he was a three-year starter and honorable-mention all-conference safety at The College of New Jersey. He was named to the National Football Foundation Hampshire Honor Society and won the “Bones” Vichrowski award at TCNJ in 2011.
Nick Graff enters his fifth season with the Kean University football staff in 2017. Graff was also a graduate assistant with the Cougars prior to this full-time position.
In addition to his duties with Kean, Graff was a strength & conditioning intern with the New York Jets for both training camp and the 2015-16 season. He has also worked with the Nike Coach of the Year Clinic and X-tra Mile Fitness.
Graff earned a bachelor’s degree from Kean in Physical Education and Adult Fitness in 2014 and will earn his master of exercise science degree in 2016.
George Williams begins his eighth season on the Kean coaching staff in 2017 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.
Mark Zielinski enters his second season with the Kean University football program in 2017. Zielinski has 26 years of high school coaching experience, including a dozen as head coach of North Brunswick Twp. High School. He was a two-time Greater Middlesex Conference Coach of the Year.
Zielinski was an All-Ivy League player at Columbia University, where he earned a BA in history in 1989. He was the Lions’ MVP as a senior in 1988. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame at his alma mater Rutherford High School in 2014.
Gary Andrewshetsko is in his second stint with the Cougar football program. He was formally with the staff in 2015.
Most recently, he was hte head coach at Newark Eastside High School in 2016. He also had stops as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Irvington (N.J.) High School from 2012 to 2014. He has also served as a varsity coach at Elmwood Park (2010-11) and Belleville (2008-10) High Schools. He will remain a physical education and health teacher at Irvington.
He played four seasons of NJAC football at Montclair State University from 2003-07 and capped his playing career with a professional stint in ArenaFootball2 with the Daytona Beach Thunderbrids in 2008.
Andrewshetsko was a two-time captain at Montclair State and was an All-NJAC selection in both 2006 and 2007.