Faith first: Coach Joe Kennedy teases his next act after his Supreme Court victory and return to football
FIRST ON FOX: There may be bigger things in store for Coach Joe Kennedy, assistant football coach in Bremerton, Washington, after his triumphant return to the high school football field following his Supreme Court victory in 2022 and his reinstatement to his coaching position earlier this year.
In a revealing on-camera interview with Fox News Digital this weekend — right after he returned to coaching after his eight-year battle — he suggested he is prayerfully and carefully considering his next move in life.
“Is the ministry something that’s on your mind, potentially, at some point for you?” Fox News Digital asked Kennedy.
“Yes, it is. It’s been weighing on our hearts quite a bit,” he replied, referencing both himself and his wife, Denise.
“We have traveled around the United States. We speak at different events,” he said.
“And it seems like people are really hungry to rally behind something,” said Kennedy. “People need just a little inspiration. And millions of Americans stood up alongside me [during his legal battle against the Bremerton School District to reclaim his coaching job]. We weren’t alone in this fight from the very beginning.”
And “I’ve always felt very comforted in knowing that so many people were supporting this from all different sides.”
He added, “This was an American thing. It was a First Amendment thing. And of course, it was also a religious thing. So everybody of every faith wanted this to go through and to see it to the end.”
In 2015, Kennedy lost his job with the Bremerton School District as an assistant high school football coach. He was fired because of his practice of saying a silent prayer on the 50-yard line after games — which turned into a professional, cultural, legal and constitutional battle played out in front of the American public and in the highest court in the land.
On June 27, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Coach Kennedy and his First Amendment right — and on March 8, 2023, Kennedy was officially reinstated as assistant coach at Bremerton High School.
True to his promise ahead of Friday’s game, he again took a knee — doing so by himself on his first day back — and gave thanks to God during the game on Sept. 1 for being back on the field and having the constitutional right to practice his faith.
He said he had been working for — and waiting for — eight years for that moment.
Now, beyond the gridiron, he’s praying about his next “career” play.
“There’s just something about going out there and being the light,” he told Fox News Digital. “And I think it’s a great way of putting it — being the light out in the world like we’re supposed to be.”
He shared his caveat on this: “I never wanted to be the big blasting light that blinds you. But I wanted people to be able to see the light through me and by my actions — instead of through just what I say.”
Kennedy expressed both an overriding humility and a sense of humanity — and spoke of the areas in which he’d like to improve in order to serve God and help others.
“I know the basics of the Bible,” he said — while acknowledging that he doesn’t know it as well as he feels he should. “Loving God and loving others is something that I suck at every day. But I would like to give it a try.”
In regard to his next move in life, he said that he and his wife have “talked about doing some missionary work. My wife’s never traveled overseas. I mean, being in the military, in the Marines — we traveled all over,” he added. (Kennedy was a Marine for 20 years.)
“We saw what the rest of the world was like, and we’re so spoiled here as Americans,” he said. “And I would like to be able to have her experience that and then come back here and really work for God.”
He added, “I don’t know if that’s just us or joining somebody else’s team, but we want to be able to support as many people as we can and help as many people as we can — maybe in marriages.”
He referenced that, given his legal battles, “we were both in really tough places, and we made it through it. And our marriage is so much stronger, and we haven’t stopped smiling at each other” since then, he said.
“And we did it together,” he said. “We finished the race, you know, and we kept the faith with God. We kept the faith as Americans and as a married couple. And if we can make it through something as difficult as this — it kind of makes all the other little things” seem far less important, he said.
“You see people fighting in their marriages,” he said, noting an area where so many people struggle. “Maybe we could help with that. And also with kids. Our heart is really with young people. And, you know, you hear about all the violence. You hear about all the suicides and the mental state of kids today,” he added.
He said is wife is “100%” a “loving, nurturing” human being. “I’m more of, ‘Rub some dirt on and get your butt back in the game.’ So I think we complement each other well.”
And “I think that we’re being called somewhere,” he said.
“I just don’t know where it is or what it is yet. We’re still trying to decide that. We have some great mentors in our life right now that are really helping us navigate that to see what is next in our life,” said Kennedy.
He said he will keep “everybody informed.”
And “I would love to follow up with you” and share the next moves, Kennedy said to Fox News Digital, once he’s reached a decision.
Kennedy and his wife today live in Florida — he is staying in Bremerton, Washington, temporarily right now while he works with the football team, he said.
This fall, Kennedy’s new book, “Average Joe: The Coach Joe Kennedy Story,” will be published by Salem Books on Oct. 24, 2023.
The book is described as a deeply personal account of “his troubled youth, what he learned in the Marines, the lessons he instills in his players, his faith in God and his love for his family. It’s a story that will inspire readers to live more boldly.”