New Edgewater football coach Jed Kennedy will soon be migrating over 1,300 miles from Wisconsin to coach the Eagles. But his name is already known in area coaching circles, and he already knows a thing or two about football in Central Florida.
Edgewater announced on Tuesday that Kennedy, a former Lake Brantley assistant, will take over a program that made the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 seasons but finished with a 3-8 record last year.
Kennedy held two head coaching positions in Wisconsin and another in Illinois over the last eight seasons. He led Kenosha, Wis., Bradford to a WIAA Division I state championship in 2011 and was later named Coach of the Year by the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association.
“Coach Kennedy just brought the entire package,” said athletic director Valerie Miyares. “He has a lot of accomplishments in a short amount of time and he’s managed to do this at a young age.”
Kennedy, 32, got his first high school head coaching job at Decatur, Ill., MacArthur in 2005. After two seasons he left for Bradford where he went 54-9 over five years. He spent last season as the head coach at Pulaski, Wis.
The early part of his coaching career involved a short stop in the area. The former University of Wisconsin-River Falls player started his coaching career in 2002 as a graduate assistant and then served two seasons as an assistant under George Clayton at Lake Brantley.
“I think it’s a really good fit [for Edgewater],” said Clayton. “Jed will do a great job of building that program back to where it was. He has a great, positive attitude and has done a tremendous job of building programs.”
“I’ve always had interest in returning to Central Florida,” said Kennedy. “I’m excited to take over a program with great tradition. Edgewater is one of the great ones in Central Florida.”
During his time in Central Florida, he also made an impression on Rick Darlington at Apopka. The two coaches have been friends since having a football conversation years ago.
“He’s as good of a head football coach that I’ve been around or seen,” said Darlington. "He’s tenacious and his teams will be very well prepared. I know Jed and the product he’ll put on the field and he’ll have them competing.”
Kennedy’s hiring comes just two weeks after Weston Cypress Bay coach Mark Guandolo turned down an offer to take over at Edgewater. He replaces interim coach Dave Wensyel and will be the school’s fourth head coach in four seasons.
Mirayes expects Kennedy to bring stability to the program.
“It really was a priority for us to find the best person that can bring Edgewater football back to life. He’s going to be a great asset to the community.”
No official date has been set for Kennedy to begin working at the school. He is currently back in Wisconsin but plans a return trip soon to meet the players.
“Being so far away is a unique situation,” said Kennedy. "But the kids need to put a face to me. I need to meet them and get the enthusiasm back.”
Charles King is high school sports writer for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow his high school football thoughts on Twitter at https://twitter.com/varsityfootball.