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This Guy Coaches Notre Dame Football: Jeff Quinn, Offensive Line Coach

Let’s review the life and times of Jeff Quinn, leader of very large Irish men

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players and coaches, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s player profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2020 season.

Jeff Quinn, Offensive Line Coach

Jeff Quinn got his start in collegiate football as an offensive lineman at Elmhurst College in the early ‘80s, where he was named a Division III 3rd Team All American during his senior season. He also wrestled as a heavyweight for the school, winning two College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin championships. Needless to say, Quinn has since been inducted into Elmhurst’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Upon his graduation in 1984, Quinn immediately began working as an assistant for Depauw University, a small school in Greencastle, Indiana. After a couple years there, he moved to coach offensive line at Ohio Northern for a couple years before linking up Brian Kelly and the crew at Grand Valley State, serving as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach over a 14-year stretch there.

When Brian Kelly moved on to Central Michigan, he brought Quinn with him at that same title of OC/OL coach, and when Kelly left for Cincy, Quinn was named interim head coach before again following Kelly to his next spot, serving as OC/OL coach for the Bearcats for three years. In 2009, Quinn was a finalist for the Broyles Award for the top assistant coach in America.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame Spring Game Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

When Kelly got the ND job in 2009 and left Cincy, Quinn was again named interim head coach in his stead, clearly thought of as a guy who could lead a college football program. 2010 saw Quinn earn that opportunity, as he was awarded the Buffalo Bulls head coaching job. The first three years at Buffalo were rough for Quinn, as he went 2-10, then 3-9, and then 4-8, improving ever so slightly each year but not seemingly turning things around enough after the departure of Turner Gill for Kansas.

In 2013, Buffalo finally had a winning season under Quinn, going 8-5 and earning a bid to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, which was unfortunately a blowout 49-24 loss for the Bulls against the San Diego State Aztecs.

After starting 3-4 in 2014, Quinn was fired with an overall record of 20-36 in his time at Buffalo. The next year Kelly brought him back into the fold as an offensive analyst at ND, and then he spent a couple seasons as Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach before assuming his current role of Offensive Line Coach in 2018 when Harry Hiestand left the Irish for the Chicago Bears.

NCAA Football: Camping World Bowl-Notre Dame vs Iowa State Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Spirit Animal

Coach Paul ‘Doc’ Hines from Remember the Titans

I had to do it, it’s the best movie of all-time and Coach Hines ruled. And that offensive line led by Louie Lastik kicked some ass.

2020 Outlook

When Hiestand left in 2018, many thought the quality of the offensive line would dip with Quinn at the helm, but so far it’s really been a continuation of big, talented, upperclassmen paving the way for Irish ball carriers and generally doing a good job of protecting Irish QBs. Offensive line recruiting has also remained strong under Quinn, as he helped land the 2019 class of Quinn Carroll, Zeke Correll, Andrew Kristofic, and John Olmstead and then followed that up with Tosh Baker and Michael Carmody in 2020.

With his entire starting offensive line coming back, I’d expect more strong results from Quinn and his guys, and if the Irish have a #1 back emerge from a crowded, unproven depth chart, it could be a really fun season considering the talent and experience up front.