he was a Super Bowl-bound defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks, before
he was an NFL coach or Salisbury University defensive lineman, Dan Quinn was a Morristown Colonial and a Morris Township resident.
“I had an absolute blast growing up in Morristown and all of the sports I played had a huge impact on me,” Quinn said.
Quinn said interacting with coaches in the various sports programs had changed his life and it was part of the reason he became a coach.
“People like the Tony Catano’s and the Sam Champi’s,” Quinn said. “Those guys might not be known around the country as household names, but they are in Morristown.”
“There was always a game going on in my backyard,” Quinn said.
By the time he reached Morristown High School, Quinn focused on football and track and field.
“I loved football because of the team aspect of it. In track and field it was all up to you and I really connected to the competition side,” Quinn said. “And I was inspired not only by the coaches I had, but by the other coaches I didn’t have. Morristown had a great tennis coach. I had no interest in playing tennis but I saw how he was with the students. Morristown had terrific coaches and I got to see those coaches around the other athletes.”
According to Quinn, before he found his way into professional coaching he was going to pursue a career in teaching so that he could work with student athletes. Quinn said that successful coaches on all levels are also great teachers.
“Coaches are teachers first. The best coaches are not only good motivators and good scheme people, but they know how to connect with players and get them to learn,” Quinn said. “Every player learns differently and good coaches know it is a matter of finding a way to reach each player.”
Quinn's oldest brother Tim said that the family is obviously proud of his accomplishments on the field, but are even more impressed with what he has done off the field.
"I am extremely proud of Dan, not only as he coaches in his first Super Bowl but all that he has accomplished in his lifetime both on and off the field. Dan has always given back. After joining the San Francisco 49ers in 2001, Dan and his wife Stacey set up a foundation called 'Quinn’s Corps'. They raised funds to bring underprivileged children to pro football games," Tim Quinn said. "He has taken the foundation to all his coaching stops, 49ers, Dolphins, jets, Seahawks and University of Florida Gators. During his first stint with the Seahawks the foundation was expanded to benefit the Wounded Warriors project and continues to do so. This is what makes me so proud of Dan."
This season Quinn had the opportunity to coach at Met Life Stadium for the first time, but the former Jets coach didn’t allow himself to daydream about a return for the super bowl.
“That isn’t the kind of team we are. It was in the back of your mind, but we take it one game at a time,” Quinn said. “We didn’t talk about it much, but now that it is happening, now that it is here, it is a real special deal.”
So how does Quinn view the chance to coach in the Super Bowl in his home state with his entire hometown watching?
“It is just an enormous opportunity,” Quinn said.