John Quinn attended Penn State University on a full football scholarship and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Resource Management in 1976. While at Penn State, John was a three year letterman in football and served as the teams co-captain. He was a two year starter at defensive tackle and participated in the 1974 Orange Bowl, the 1975 Cotton Bowl, and the 1976 Sugar Bowl.
In 1975 John was named a second-team Academic All-American. He was also named to the first-team All-East Defensive Team and received Honorable Mention All-America. John was also awarded the Tim Cohane Scholar Athlete Fellowship for graduate school. In 1976, he signed an NFL contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
John returned to Penn State in 1977 as a graduate assistant coach with the offensive line as the team went 9-2 and won the Fiesta Bowl. While a graduate assistant, John earned a secondary science teacher certification in biology and environmental science.
In 1978 John began teaching science and coaching football in the Howard County Public School System, Maryland. John also served as a curriculum writer and developer for the school district and piloted new courses which he presented at the National Science Teachers Convention in 1992. He also won a grant to start the district’s first Site Based Management Council at Howard High School in 1993. John helped Howard High School earn National Blue Ribbon Recognition in 1995 and also served as Howard County’s High School summer school principal from 1992-1994.
While teaching in the school district, John earned master degrees from Johns Hopkins and Loyola College in Technology and Administration and Supervision. In 2006, he completed his Doctorate Degree at the University of Maryland for Education Policy and Leadership.
As a coach, John worked as an assistant and defensive coordinator for eight years at both Oakland Mills and Hammond high schools. He was head coach at Howard for nine years, and rebuilt the program. He led the school to its first district championship and state playoff appearance in over twenty years (1993), and was named Howard County Football Coach of the Year.