Kearny’s Andrews steps down as head football coach, takes job at Kean

Stephen Andrews knew it was a day that was going to eventually come as he looked to continue his football journey. Knowing that didn’t make it any less emotional to move on from the program he played for and loves.

Andrews stepped down this winter as Kearny’s head football coach after five seasons in order to become the wide receivers coach at Kean University, a position he started in March.

Andrews remains Kearny’s strength and conditioning coach through the academic year.

“It’s heartbreaking having to leave, but my goal was always to eventually move on to the next level,” said Andrews. “It was never meant to be a lifetime appointment for me. I wanted to learn, I wanted to help build the program. I just felt like it was the right time.”

For Andrews, 39, his ultimate goal is to eventually become a college offensive coordinator. Joining Kean is the next step in that process and he’s already hit the ground running.

“We’ve already started coaching meetings, we’re getting into spring football so it’s been sort of a whirlwind trying to catch up,” Andrews said shortly after taking the job. “The staff has been amazing. I go there (regularly) for overall coaching meetings, but I always meet with the offensive coordinator to catch up.

“Being an offensive coordinator in high school was great, but it’s just so much more in college. Being someone who wants to be the best coach I can be, it’s a lot of work, but I’m working forward to it.”

The Kardinals went 9-31 during Andrews’ time as head coach, but while it didn’t always show up in the standings, he provided stability to a program that has rarely had it in recent memory. Andrews was the longest tenured head football coach Kearny has had since it dropped the sport for a year in 2003. The Kardinals’ 4-6 record in 2019 under Andrews was tied for the second best in that 20-year span, which included seven different head coaches.

Last year, Kearny went 2-7, closing the season with a 32-20 victory at Hopatcong.

None of that made it easier to deliver the news to his players.

“That’s probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do,” Andrews said. “ I’m just very emotional when it comes to my players so I had to be strategic in how I delivered the news.

“They were upset, I was upset, the coaching staff was upset. But the one thing that makes it easier is that I’m still the strength and conditioning coach so I’m still working with the guys in the weight room, I’m still doing all of that. So that makes it a little bit of an easier transition.”

That presence has been especially vital as Kearny started searching for a new head coach, which will be the Kardinals’ eighth in 21 seasons.

It also comes as no surprise to anyone who knows Andrews and the relationship he has had with Kearny his entire life.

“(People) know Kearny is in my blood and how much I love the football program and how much time and effort I put into being the football coach here,” said Andrews. “In the end, I love Kearny football, I love Kearny athletics, I love Kearny and all I want is to see them be great.”

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Jason Bernstein | Observer Sports Writer

Jason Bernstein joined The Observer as its sports writer in March 2022, following the retirement of Jim Hague. He has a wealth of sports-writing experience, including for NJ Advance Media (, The Jersey Journal, The Star-Ledger.)