News & Politics

Dan Quinn: 5 Things to Know About the Commanders’ New Head Coach

The Washington NFL team's new coach previously went to the Super Bowl with Atlanta and Seattle.

New Commanders coach Dan Quinn. Photograph by Julio Aguilar/Stringer/Getty Images.

New owner, new general manager, and now a new coach: the Washington Commanders continued to move away from the Dan Snyder era today by reportedly reaching an agreement with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to become the team’s next head coach.

An experienced NFL coach who has been to three Super Bowls—once as the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons—the 53-year-old Quinn most recently helped the Cowboys significantly improve their defense over the last two seasons. Now, he’ll try to do the same for the Commanders. Here are five things to know about him:


He has ties to the DMV

Though Quinn grew up in New Jersey, he spent much of his twenties in the Washington area. He was a member of the football and track and field teams at Salisbury University in Maryland, playing defensive line and earning all-conference honors in the hammer throw. After graduating, Quinn got his start in coaching as a defensive line coach—first at William & Mary in 1994, then at Virginia Military Institute in 1995.


Expect the backwards hat!

Quinn is well-known around the NFL for wearing baseball hats backwards, even on the sidelines during games. The look—long favored by frat bros—has earned him both criticism and praise from fans and commentators. 


He’s well-traveled as a coach

In addition to William & Mary and VMI, Quinn was defensive coordinator for the University of Florida from 2011-2012. His professional experience is extensive: gigs with the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and two stints with the Seattle Seahawks. Quinn was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 2015 to Week 5 of the 2020 season, compiling a 43-42 record in the regular season and a 3-2 mark in the playoffs. Quinn’s Falcons captured the NFC title in 2017 only to be on the losing end of the largest comeback in Super Bowl history, as Tom Brady’s New England Patriots turned a 28-3 deficit into a 34-28 victory.


He’s the architect of the “Legion of Boom”

In his second run with the Seahawks (2013-2014), Quinn was responsible for the “Legion of Boom,” a unit that helped Seattle win the Super Bowl in 2013 and that some have called the greatest in NFL history. That team led the league in yards allowed, takeaways, and point differential. The 2014 squad was also fearsome, and was one unfortunate play call away from back-to-back Super Bowl Championships.


He’s the newest face in a major rebuild for the Commanders

The Commanders are in the early stages of a full refresh. The new ownership group led by Chevy Chase’s Josh Harris bought the team from Snyder last year and recently hired San Francisco 49ers assistant general manager Adam Peters to be its GM. The franchise will enjoy some substantial draft capital to start Quinn’s tenure: the Commanders have the second overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft as well as two second-rounders.

Nate Bauer
Editorial Fellow