Meet Coach Quinn


John Quinn was a teacher. The lessons went far beyond the classrooms of Cardinal Dougherty or Archbishop Ryan where he was on the original faculty, or Roman Catholic. They extended to his unexpected visit to the sickbeds and funeral of graduates and their families. Quiet, unassuming, consoling.

John Quinn was a coach. He was a six-time Catholic League Football Coach of the Year, who won both the North and South championships, while leading four different teams to the play offs. Beyond the X’s and O’s, however, he coached his young charges that if losing a championship football game was the worst thing that ever happened to them, then they would have lived a charmed life.

John Quinn was a mentor. Many a student or youthful colleague looked up to John as a father figure. Jim “Gator” McCoy, a fellow teacher, referred to John as a “mentor, facilitator for the young Ryan faculty back in the early ‘70’s.” Bob Fox, Ryan Class of 1983 echoed the feelings of many when he wrote, “I thought of the man as an equal to my own father who was by far the greatest man I have ever known.”

John Quinn was a fighter. After a stint in the Army during the Korean War, John was a member of the football team at Notre Dame and also a champion of the Bengal Bouts Boxing Club. His biggest fight, however, was his eighteen-year battle with cancer. Eighteen rounds that he fought with the heart of a George Gipp, a Knute Rockne, a Rocky Marciano. You would never know when he was hurting, because he talked more about you than he talked about himself.

John Quinn was a character. If you attended a social event with him, it was not unusual to look over at his name tag and find that you were standing next to “Cary Grant.” John Quinn was a lady’s man. John Quinn was a man’s man. John Quinn was Everyman.

Bob Clothier
Archbishop Ryan High School