COLUMBIA, S.C. — Dan Quinn, coach of the NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, is a trusted ally of the South Carolina defensive brain trust.
Quinn first crossed paths with South Carolina coach Will Muschamp in 2005 while they worked under Nick Saban for the Miami Dolphins.
In 2011, Muschamp hired Quinn to join his staff at Florida, where Quinn worked for 2 seasons as defensive coordinator. Travaris Robinson, who is now Muschamp’s defensive coordinator at South Carolina, coached defensive backs.
Quinn left for the NFL in 2013 to become defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. He remains close to Muschamp and Robinson.
“Dan is a really good friend of ours,” Robinson said, “so he stops by sometimes and he’s able to talk to our team, and that means a lot.”
Before the Super Bowl, Muschamp lauded Quinn.
“He’s an outstanding man first of all,” Muschamp said. “He’s an outstanding football coach and has a real uncommon ability to relate with anybody. I’m not at all surprised with what they’re accomplishing there at Atlanta.
“I knew Dan would be successful. He did a fantastic job at Florida and went back to Seattle and went to 2 Super Bowls, won 1 of them.”
Quinn’s NFL success also serves as a source of motivation for South Carolina coaches.
“To see what he did with that program, who’s to say we can’t do that here? That’s got to be our outlook and that’s how we’ll approach it,” Robinson said.
Now in his second year as Gamecocks defensive coordinator, Robinson appreciates what Quinn has done in Atlanta.
“No one in a million years that had any kind of money would have bet that the Atlanta Falcons would be playing in the Super Bowl,” Robinson said. “No one would have thought that, but the guys bought into the brotherhood. They bought into playing for each other. They bought into the physicality of the game and the effort that it takes to be successful.
“I witnessed that with my own two eyes and that’s something that I share with our guys a lot.”