Florida Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has left the team to take the same position with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks.
Just hours after former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was named the new head coach in Jacksonville on Thursday, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll tabbed Quinn as his replacement.
Quinn undoubtedly saw a fantastic opportunity to coach arguably the NFL’s best defense, one which surrendered the fewest points in the league this past season. Before joining the Gators, he coached the Seahawks’ defensive line from 2009-10.
His name also popped up as a candidate for the Jacksonville, Cleveland and Philadelphia defensive coordinator openings. Quinn turned down an opportunity to leave Florida and join Tampa Bay following the 2011 season.
“My wife Stacey and I loved our time in Gainesville,” Quinn said in a school release. “The last two years have been an awesome experience, working for Will [Muschamp] and Mr. [Jeremy] Foley and with a bunch of talented, great players and coaches. Even though we’ll be in Seattle, we look forward to keeping track of the Gators in the future.”
After serving as a collegiate defensive line coach from 1994-2000, Quinn spent 10-straight years in the NFL coaching the same position for San Francisco, Miami, the New York Jets and Seattle. Deciding to return to college was not a decision he took lightly.
“There was [trepidation] on my end because when you’ve done one thing for 10 years and you’re kind of settled, I certainly enjoyed [Seattle] and had a great time working with Pete Carroll and John Schneider, the GM there,” he said on Nov. 7, 2012.
“There was hesitancy, not from coming back to college or coming here or working with Will, but I enjoyed what I was doing there and was happy. I thought the opportunity was too unique to pass up and that’s why I wanted to come do it, and I’m certainly glad that I did.”
He continued, “I had been a defensive line coach for 10 years. For me the chance to, as a play caller and coordinator, lead a bigger group of people, that was one [reason] for me. And then at a place like this, I thought, ‘Where else would you rather do it?’”
Muschamp is now tasked with hiring his fourth coordinator while heading into his third season at Florida. Quinn and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis were part of his initial staff. Weis accepted the head coaching job at Kansas this offseason and was replaced by Boise State’s Brent Pease.
Additionally, the Gators’ next defensive coordinator will be the team’s fourth (technically fifth) in five seasons. Charlie Strong left following the 2009 campaign only to be replaced first by George Edwards but later by Teryl Austin (after Edwards decided to return to the NFL) for the 2010 season. Quinn took over with Muschamp in 2011.
“This is a great place to work and we’ve got a good, young football team, and we’re going to be good for a long time,” Muschamp said on Nov. 26, 2012. “I always tell our staff this: ‘If you have an opportunity for a promotion … I support you 1,000 percent.’ That says what kind of job we’re doing here at Florida.”
Former NFL Pro Bowler and Florida defensive line coach Bryant Young, who joined Quinn’s defensive coaching staff in 2011, could potentially leave for Seattle with him even though that position is not currently open on the staff. Young has made a big impact on Florida’s defensive line over the last two years and he is an attractive piece of the Gators’ coaching staff for incoming recruits.
One name being passed around as a quick replacement for Quinn is Florida linebackers coach and special teams coordinator D.J. Durkin, who was originally hired by then-head coach Urban Meyer in 2010. Durkin has never coordinated a defense at any level but is an up-and-coming assistant coach who is a hot name across the country and had even been rumored as a candidate for some head coaching openings.
National Signing Day is less than three weeks away, so Muschamp will likely have to make a decision soon. A school press conference has been scheduled since the beginning of the week for Friday at noon.
OGGOA will be updating this story shortly.
Photo Credit: UF Communications