ATLANTA – Salisbury University Athletics Hall of Fame member and 1994 graduate Dan Quinn has reached the pinnacle of his profession as he was named the newest head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in the National Football League on Monday.
"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.
Since his graduation from then Salisbury State University, Quinn has climbed the coaching ranks to the upper echelon of the collegiate game, as a defensive coordinator at the University of Florida, and spending the past two seasons in the same position with the Seattle Seahawks. With the Seahawks, Quinn went to the Super Bowl twice and won once, in 2014 as his defense put on an incredible show against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in a 43-8 victory.
"I am grateful for this opportunity, and I am excited to be the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons," said Quinn in a statement from the Falcons. Quinn and the franchise have reportedly agreed to a five-year contract.
The Falcons appeared set on Quinn as their next head coach, but due to NFL rules were forced to wait until the Seahawks' season was complete in the Super Bowl on February 1 to officially offer the job.
Quinn was a feared defensive lineman while wearing maroon and gold from 1989-93, where he recorded 145 tackles. After getting time during his freshman year, Quinn was expected to see more action as a sophomore in 1990, but an injury limited his participation to just one game. Quinn was a mainstay for his final three years, playing in all 28 games, with 135 tackles, two forced fumbles, a recovery and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown.
While a Sea Gull, Quinn was a two-sport athlete, also exceling in track & field, as a thrower, breaking the school record in the hammer throw (168' 8"), which stood until 2012.
His climb through the coaching ranks after leaving Salisbury helped to build the football program's reputation of producing quality players and graduates, and Quinn's hire in Atlanta will only further that status.
"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!"
The post with the Falcons will be the fifth NFL team Quinn has worked with, getting his first job in the league in 2001 with the San Francisco 49ers before positions with the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets.