The Dallas Cowboys named Dan Quinn defensive coordinator on Jan. 12, 2021 after Quinn spent the previous five-plus seasons as the Atlanta Falcons head coach. Quinn has 19 years of NFL coaching experience, and in total, Quinn has coached professionally and collegiately for 28 years, spending six as a defensive coordinator.
Quinn's first season in Dallas marked his second stop as an NFL defensive coordinator, after an extremely successful stint as the defensive coordinator in Seattle (2013-14). He inherited a Dallas defense that ranked 28th in points-per-game in 2020 and was charged with the unit's turnaround in 2021. Quinn helped Dallas improve in essentially every major defensive statistical category in 2021, becoming one of the most dynamic units in the NFL. The transformation came all while the Cowboys were forced to use 34 different players defensively due to various injuries and COVID-19 replacements throughout the year.
The defense never wavered in its confidence and performance, forcing a league-high 34 takeaways and scoring a league-best and franchise-record six defensive touchdowns in 2021, while also finishing second in the NFL in third down defense (34.1%) and opponent three-and-out drives (43) and ranking seventh in opponent points-per-game (21.1). The takeaways were particularly important for Dallas, as it tallied the most scoring drives off takeaways in the league (23) and was 11-2 when recording an even or positive turnover margin.
Quinn's pièce de résistance came in rookie All-Pro linebacker Micah Parsons, whose unique skill set provided Quinn an opportunity to get creative with the defensive packages, which led to a franchise-rookie record 13.0 sacks and AP Defensive Rookie of the Year honors for Parsons and AP Assistant Coach of the Year honors for Quinn.
Quinn was named head coach of the Atlanta Falcons in February 2015, and in just over five years at the helm, finished with a 43-42 regular season record with two postseason appearances. Quinn led the club to an NFC title and its second Super Bowl appearance in 2016. In his time as head coach, Quinn's defenses ranked sixth in the league by forcing 105 turnovers.
Quinn earned a head coaching opportunity after establishing himself as one of the top defensive coordinators in the NFL. His leadership of the Seattle Seahawks defense (2013-14) helped guide the club to consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Over those two seasons, the Seahawks led the league with the fewest yards allowed (270.4), points allowed (15.2) and passing yards allowed (178.8), all while holding opposing offenses to just 91.6 rushing yards-per-game. Through those two seasons, Richard Sherman led the NFL with 12 interceptions, and the Seahawks defense paced the league with 28 interceptions. The 2013 season saw Seattle lead the league with 39 total takeaways, and in that two-year span, Quinn's defense totaled 63 total takeaways to also lead the league. Quinn had four of his defensive players earn seven Pro Bowl selections - Sherman (two), Kam Chancellor (two), Earl Thomas (two) and Bobby Wagner (one).
Quinn originally joined Seattle in 2009 as the assistant head coach/defensive line coach under Jim Mora after spending the previous six years coaching the defensive lines for the San Francisco 49ers (2003-04), Miami Dolphins (2005-06) and New York Jets (2007-08).
Between his stints with the Seahawks, Quinn served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida (2011-12), guiding the defense to a top-10 finish in 2011 - eighth in total defense (299.5) and seventh in passing defense (166.8).
While with the Jets (2007-08), Quinn coached the defensive line, helping the defense rank fifth in yards-per-carry (3.7), seventh in sacks (41.0) and ninth in rushing yards-per-game (94.9) in 2008.
Quinn made his NFL coaching debut in San Francisco as a defensive assistant in 2001 before moving on to coach the 49ers defensive line (2003-04).
Quinn got his start coaching the defensive line at William & Mary (1994), then spent one season at Virginia Military Institute (1995), followed by four years as defensive line coach at Hofstra (1996-99) before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2000.
Quinn was a four-year letter winner and two-time co-captain (1992-93) defensive lineman at Salisbury State (Division III in Salisbury, Md.). Quinn also lettered in track and field and held the school record in the hammer throw. He was inducted into the Salisbury State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.
Quinn, originally from Morristown, N.J., and his wife, Stacey, started Quinn's Corps in 2004, which helps serve members of the military both at home and abroad.