Salisbury graduate Quinn hired as NFL head coach

Dan Quinn, No. 99, was a standout player for the Salisbury University Seagulls. A defensive player, he is riding his expertise on the defensive side of the ball to the next stage in his career: head coach of the Atlantic Falcons.

Dan Quinn, No. 99, was a standout player for the Salisbury University Seagulls. A defensive player, he is riding his expertise on the defensive side of the ball to the next stage in his career: head coach of the Atlantic Falcons.

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As the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, Dan Quinn was the brains behind a defensive unit that went to two straight Super Bowls, winning one against the Denver Broncos in 2014 and losing the other on Sunday night to the New England Patriots.

In addition to being the defensive coordinator for the Seahawks, Quinn is also a 1994 graduate of Salisbury University. After going 1-1 in Super Bowls, a new challenge awaits the former Sea Gull in the South East.

Dan-QuinnLess than 24 hours after the Super Bowl loss in Glendale, Arizona, Quinn was on his way to Atlanta to agree to be the head coach of the Falcons. On Monday morning, the 1994 Salisbury University graduate and the Falcons agreed to terms on a five-year deal making him the first former Sea Gull to be the head coach of an NFL team.

“Dan was an outstanding leader and student-athlete in his time as a Sea Gull and we could not be happier for him on this day as he takes the next step in a great coaching career,” Salisbury Director of Athletics Dr. Michael Vienna said in a statement from the Salisbury Sports Information Department.

A career in football started for Quinn when he was a member of the Sea Gulls’ football and track and field teams in the early 1990’s when it was then known as Salisbury State University. Quinn played football through five seasons and was an anchor on the defensive line for his final three years in Salisbury where he competed in 28 games during that time while racking up 135 tackles, 54 of which were solo stops, eight tackles for loss, a sack, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one interception, which he returned 33 yards for a touchdown.

Quinn was the leader of the Sea Gull defense during that time and served as a team captain in 1992 and 1993. As a member of the track and field team, Quinn was a captain in 1994 and broke the school record for hammer throw at 168.8 feet that stood until 2012.

In 2005, Quinn became one of nine former Salisbury football players to be inducted into the Salisbury Athletics’ Hall Of Fame.

A native of Morristown, N.J., Quinn got his coaching start at William and Mary University as a defensive line coach and then moved on to coach at the Virginia Military Institute and then Hofstra under the same positions before landing his first NFL job as a defensive quality control assistant with the San Francisco 49ers in 2001.

From there, Quinn bounced around the league coaching the defensive lines for the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets and the Seahawks under head coach Jim L. Mora in 2009 and 2010.

Quinn then went back to college football and became the defensive coordinator for the University of Florida in 2011 and 2012 before current Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll offered him the defensive coordinator job in Seattle.

As the orchestrator of the “Legion of Boom,” Quinn’s defenses ranked first in seven different statistical defensive categories in 2013 and first in five different statistical categories this past season.

“Dan Quinn being named head coach for the Atlanta Falcons is the most amazing accomplishment in the history of Salisbury University football. Dan is the true example of excellence,” Head Salisbury University Football Coach Sherman Wood said. “Dan’s achievements will help to raise the profile of Salisbury University football even more, as prospective student-athletes will know of us not only as an outstanding Division III program, but also the jumping off point to the career of an NFL head coach.”

Quinn was introduced in Atlanta as the new Falcons’ head coach at a press conference on Tuesday.

“I am grateful for this opportunity, and I am excited to be the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons,” Quinn said to members of the media in Atlanta. “This felt like the right fit from the beginning, and I want to thank (Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank) for his resolve as this was an extended and complicated process.

“My goal is to build upon the foundation that has been laid here and to play a physical brand of football as we build a championship caliber team,” he said.

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