Kean ceased his playing career after the 1948–49 season and then worked for Hibs as an assistant trainer. He moved to Dundee in the late 1950s, assisting Bob Shankly with their league championship winning team in 1962. Kean was credited with the signing of Gordon Smith, as the pair had a working relationship dating back to shifts in the Leith shipyards during the war. Kean also coached Falkirk and Partick Thistle.
Kean worked for the Gas Board for the rest of his working life. Besides football, he was also a keen golfer and lawn bowls player. His wife Mary died in 1993 and Kean suffered from Alzheimer's disease in his later years. When he died in April 2003, Kean was survived by two daughters and four grandchildren.