New Coach Leads On and Off the Field


Breiner, one of the youngest college football coaches at age 31, plans to continue his enthusiastic approach to practice for the whole season. (PHOTO BY ANDREA GARCIA/THE OBSERVER)


If he could go back and tell his college self anything, it’d be, “to be excited for what’s going to happen in the next 10 years. Have a more distant view and not always look at what’s right in front of your face.” Fast forward a decade, and he’s the Head Coach of Fordham University’s football team. This man is Andrew Breiner.

At the end of the fall semester, Dave Roach, Fordham’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, was busy preparing for the big announcement to the Fordham community: Andrew Breiner was promoted from Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach to Head Coach. In his statement, Roach said, “We believe that he is one of the bright young coaches who has done a great job guiding the record-setting offense over the past four years. He has been a big part of the program’s recent success and we are confident that Andrew will be able to maintain and build upon that success going forward.”

Breiner replaced former Coach Joe Moorhead, who resigned in order to take up an Offensive Coordinator position at Pennsylvania State University. When asked about former Coach Moorhead’s departure, Breiner responded, “First and foremost I was happy for him as a friend that he was getting this new and exciting opportunity. I was sad, personally, because he was such a friend. It was strange to go to work and not see him every day.” After all, the two had worked together for seven years as members of the coaching staff, starting at the University of Connecticut, and then moving down to Fordham. For Breiner, the new position meant an opportunity to fulfill his dream as a head coach.

In his youth, Breiner was always taught to seize the moment. “I was taught by my father when I was very young to never assume people know what you want.” Therefore, when Moorhead resigned and the opportunity arose, Breiner took it. “I reached out to Mr. Roach and let him know that I would be interested in the position if he was interested in talking to me. I did not waste time making sure he knew I was interested,” Breiner said.

When reflecting on the impact that football has on his life, he recalled the memories of his first football practice as a fourth grader in Garland, Texas. He even recalled the memories of watching football games on television. He specifically said, growing up “I didn’t watch a lot of cartoons. I probably watched a Dallas Cowboys versus New York Giants Monday Night football game on VHS hundred times.”

Breiner has traveled a long journey to reach this point, crediting his past experiences for his success. “I’m in this position because of all the incredibly wonderful people I’ve worked with,” he said. He first started at Lock Haven as a player. Then, he worked through the ranks at Allegheny, UConn and with Coach Moorhead at Fordham. “They have certainly shaped who I am as a coach and a person. I owe all the credit to the people I have been around,” he continued.

As a college football player at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, Breiner always knew his calling was to be a coach. Having suffered a career-ending injury in his senior year, he was disappointed. However, he attested that “the injury accelerated [his] start into the coaching world.” Breiner said, “I knew my next step was to take off the pads and grab a hat and whistle.” From that point onward, Breiner was granted the opportunity to start something he passionately wanted to do.

Breiner was offered his first coaching chance at Allegheny College by then-coach Mark Matlak. Humbled by the prospect of an assistant coaching position, he gave it his all, but quickly learned that coaching isn’t just about X’s and O’s. He described the experience, saying, “When I got to Allegheny, I was fresh out of college and excited to be a college football coach. I didn’t really have a full grasp of what it was all about.” He soon learned that “coaching is not just a job, but a profession.”

At the University of Connecticut, he worked under Coach Randy Edsall and then-Offensive Coordinator Joe Moorhead. Breiner learned the “attention to detail, the accountability, the discipline, and the consistency that it takes on a daily basis to truly be successful.” And so this was the model that him and Moorhead brought to Fordham. Evidently, it worked and boosted Fordham’s football program among the best in the Patriot League and the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

Coach Breiner emphasized that being the Head Coach is even more than profession; it’s a lifestyle. He articulated, “Coaching is a lifestyle. Everyone around me, my wife and daughter, our families have to understand that this profession is a lifestyle. There are no days off. There is no time to relax or stray from your fundamental values.” In fact, he mentioned, “I’ve darn near missed my sister’s wedding a couple of years ago because of a playoff game.”

Part of this lifestyle includes one’s personal life as well. When asked about this, he stated, “Being a father has taught me patience and to be more positive. I think in those ways, my personal experiences have made me a better coach.” Another part of this is being a leader both on and off the field. He reminds his players that “the decisions they make now will affect the next five, 10, 15, 20 years of [their] lives.” As a result, Breiner always looks to keep the best interests of everyone on his mind, whether it’s star athletes Chase Athletes and Kevin Anderson, one of his fellow coaches, his wife Kelly, or his 1-year old daughter Abigail.

So, how will Fordham football be the same or different with Coach Breiner? “They’ll hear some different voices, which is a good thing. What’ll be the same is that our offense is not changing. What we’re doing schematically will remain the same.” This should be no different than any other Division I football team, which strives to improve on the previous season’s performance. When asked how the team can improve, Breiner replied, “We went back and evaluated the tape and what we did well and what we didn’t do well. We still have a lot of developing to do and we need to give ourselves a chance to be successful next season.”

As for his message to the Fordham community, Breiner expressed tremendous gratitude. “My message is to thank them for the support they give the football program. I thank [the community] for the support I’ve received since getting the new position. They should be excited for Fordham football. We’re at a time that is arguably the most successful point in Fordham football in the modern era.” He finished by saying, “We will continue to make a positive impact on the Fordham community not just on the football field, but with what we do inside the classroom and on campus.”

Now, as the new season approaches, he can witness the fruition of his efforts as he stands on the sideline not as an assistant, but as the Head Coach. Most importantly, Breiner’s confidence and dedication is what drives his success. He finished with, “The reason I was given this opportunity is because I believe in how we have done things here. I believe it to be the way to produce results.”