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5 things to know about new Commanders coach Dan Quinn

The Washington Commanders have a new head coach. On Thursday, Washington agreed to terms with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and while an official announcement hasn’t been made, Quinn is the guy.

Why Quinn? Remember how new Washington general manager Adam Peters said leadership was the most critical attribute for the Commanders’ next head coach?

That’s Quinn.

Washington will introduce Quinn to everyone next week, but while we wait, here are five quick things to know about the Commanders’ new coach.

He played college football at nearby Salisbury

Dan Quinn grew up in Morristown, New Jersey, where he starred at Morristown High School. For college, Quinn landed at Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md., about two hours away from FedEx Field.

Quinn was a two-sport star at Salisbury as a defensive lineman on the gridiron, while he also starring in track and field. He represented Salisbury in the NCAA track championships as a senior in the hammer throw. He was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2005.

His coaching career began at William & Mary with a pair of current NFL head coaches

Quinn began his coaching career as soon as he finished at Salisbury in 1994 at William & Mary College. The young assistant coach had a couple of now-familiar names on the roster. Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Tomlin of the Steelers was a senior on that roster, while Bills head coach Sean McDermott was a freshman defensive back. What are the odds?

Nick Saban hired him in 2005

Defensive line coach Dan Quinn of the Miami Dolphins signals to his linemen during the game with the Buffalo Bills on October 9, 2005 (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Defensive line coach Dan Quinn of the Miami Dolphins signals to his linemen during the game with the Buffalo Bills on October 9, 2005 (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Quinn’s first NFL job was with the 49ers in 2001. After four seasons in San Francisco, Nick Saban returned to the NFL in 2005, this time as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. He named Quinn his defensive line coach. Quinn remained on Saban’s staff for the two years he was Miami’s head coach before returning to college and beginning his legendary stint at Alabama.

Quinn returned to college in 2011

Florida Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (left) talks with safety De’Ante Saunders (26) during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Florida Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn (left) talks with safety De’Ante Saunders (26) during the first quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After two seasons as assistant head coach/defensive line coach of the Seattle Seahawks, Quinn returned to the college game in 2011 as defensive coordinator of the Florida Gators. Quinn did what he does best: Turn things around. In his second season with the Gators, Quinn was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given annually to college football’s top assistant coach.

He was back in the NFL in 2013 as the Seahawks defensive coordinator.

Quinn turns things around quickly

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn (left) and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn (left) and Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn was back in the NFL with the Seahawks in 2013. In his first year, the Seahawks led the NFL in fewest points allowed and fewest yards allowed while also finishing No. 1 in takeaways.

In 2015, he took the Falcons’ head coaching job. In his second season (2016), he led Atlanta to its second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. He also became the first coach in franchise history to have a playoff win in back-to-back seasons.

In 2021, he took over as the Cowboys defensive coordinator and immediately turned Dallas into a top-five defense. The Cowboys finished in the top five of FTN’s total defensive DVOA in each of his three seasons. The Cowboys led the NFL with a combined 93 takeaways in the past three seasons — Buffalo was second with 80.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire