He’s at Clovis North High now, the football CEO in a high-profile job in Clovis Unified and the Tri-River Athletic Conference, but the stepladder to get there included unorthodox steps, to put it mildly.
Consider: Casey Quinn’s nomadic, eight-year journey as a prep head football coach was launched at 4,000-student Central of the TRAC, shifted to Roosevelt of the considerably less-advertised North Yosemite League and, farther south (interpret as you will), to 1,350-student Chavez-Delano of the South Sequoia League.
That’s the conference with Wasco, Shafter, Taft, Kennedy, Arvin and Bakersfield Christian, never to be confused with Buchanan, Clovis, Clovis West, Clovis East, Clovis North and Central of the TRAC.
But this was another critical step that has helped define Quinn as he stands today, and he’s at peace with this, particularly in Clovis Unified, which he has targeted all along: “I’m going to be a Bronco until the end of the deal, until I’m done coaching.”
Additional steps he took aren’t to be discounted, either.
Like the one as an assistant at Reedley College for a year in between the Central and Roosevelt jobs.
And – seriously – like the one that had him coaching the Central Cal War Angels in the spring of 2015.
War Angels? Yes, of the Women’s Football Alliance.
“Casey’s never been afraid of taking that next step,” said Clovis North athletic director Coby Lindsey, “and he’s picked up a lot of good things along the way.”
Casey’s never been afraid of taking that next step, and he’s picked up a lot of good things along the way.
Clovis North athletic director Coby Lindsey on football coach Casey Quinn
And Lindsey, most important at Willow and International avenues on the northeast Fresno/Clovis border, wasn’t afraid to hire him.
No matter that Quinn delivered consecutive 10-2 seasons in 2014-15 at a Chavez program that hadn’t had a winning season since its first varsity year in 2004.
No matter that he had Roosevelt rolling with a 6-3 finish after an 0-3 start in 2013.
This is the Central Section’s seventh-ranked Clovis North (1-0), which will play Bellarmine-San Jose (1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday in a nonleague home game at Veterans Memorial Stadium. This is the TRAC. Above all, it is a position with scrutiny and pressure.
And while Quinn went 23-11, including an 11-4 league record in the final three of four seasons at Central, he suddenly “resigned” in a December 2011 move that screamed for explanation.
Central administrators also played the resignation card, publicly. But those same suits made clear behind closed doors that they were ready to start anew.
Quinn admittedly antagonized many with a “mistrusting” personality that today, he says, has become considerably more trusting in his growth as a coach.
20-4 Quinn’s two-year record in 2013-15 at Chavez-Delano, which hadn’t had a winning season since starting varsity football in 2004
“I’ve been perceived as having rough edges,” he says, while not denying its justification. “I’ve had to learn how to manage a staff, to put norms into place to allow everyone to be successful, to learn how to be a figurehead in a community.”
Lindsey, the key connection with Quinn as a former assistant with him at Clovis West, is well aware of the baggage in the coach’s closet.
“Absolutely,” Lindsey said. “Casey didn’t trust people; he was a one-man show who rubbed some administrators and coaches the wrong way. But one thing I’ve never heard is him rubbing kids the wrong way. He’s always been great around kids.”
Lindsey then gave Quinn the highest form of flattery, likening his passion to his Clovis North predecessor, Fresno Athletic Hall of Famer Tim Simons, in addition to two others surely headed for the same Hall – Buchanan baseball coach Tom Donald and Clovis West girls basketball coach Craig Campbell.
No kid is more important to Quinn than his own, Madeline, who will turn 7 in December.
“She has changed my whole outlook on life,” Quinn the dad says. “She has made me a better person, a better man, a better teacher and better football coach. She’s very inspiring; she’s awesome.”
Quinn was determined to connect with his daughter as an infant, but it was difficult during the most traumatic trials of his life.
There was a divorce, the loss of his father and the challenge of managing a west-Fresno Central program known to test the greatest of managing skills.
“All this happening at the same time,” Quinn says. “I had to prioritize, I had to take a step back, and I was fortunate to take a back seat at Reedley College. It’s important for me to be a successful football coach, but that doesn’t define me.
“I’m passionate about coaching, but my family, being a good friend and a good citizen, is how I want to be defined. I had to reflect, heal and prioritize.”
And so he has in a journey equally rewarding and unorthodox.
“My journey,” he says, “has been awesome. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”