The 'Scoop' News

« View all 'Scoop'

Coach Quinn Died

Al Hamnik of NWITimes wrote a fine tribute to our admirable football coach
John Quinn was one of those passionate individuals who would've coached football from a wheelchair if needed. "In retirement, he continued to be a student of the game," said daughter Katie Quinn Sullivan. "He'd say: 'I wish I could do something part-time; help out somebody.'" And Quinn did just that after spending 13 years at Bishop Noll — five as the coach — then taking over the program at Gavit, where its undefeated 1973 team qualified for the first-ever Indiana High School Athletic Association playoffs in Class AAA. There were just three classes back then and only four teams per class qualified. Eventual state champion South Bend Washington beat Gavit, 27-14, in the opening round. That earned the 1939 E.C. Roosevelt grad The Times Coach of the Year honors. "Boy, he was the real deal. He was a Marine Corps veteran in World War II," said Munster coaching legend John Friend. "A lot of guys like myself are still called 'coach' but John Quinn deserved that title more than anybody I know. "You thought he'd be around forever." John Quinn died Feb. 28. He was 96. "Literally hundreds of athletes' lives were affected by John. The word 'icon' is thrown around today but (Hammond coaches) like (Morton's) Maury Zlotnik and John Quinn were true icons," Friend said. Quinn coached 13 years at Gavit, 10 as its head coach. Upon retiring, he served as an assistant at T.F. North and St. Francis deSales high schools and then Thornton Community College, which is now South Suburban College. He's a 2003 Hammond Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Quinn lived in Lincolnshire, Illinois, and is survived by his wife of 61 years, Veronica, and their three children -- MaryAnn Quinn, Katie Quinn Sullivan and John Quinn Jr. "He was a busy coach but always had time for us. He was a good dad," Katie said. "He'd tell us he had the best job in the world as a teacher-coach. "My mother said he always appreciated the fact she let him do it (coaching). He was the most positive guy, not just in sports, but when dealing with life's setbacks. He always had a positive word for those who knew him." Quinn played for Hall of Famer Pete Rucinski at ECR and used him as a coaching model for nearly 50 years.


« Back to News Section