Pat Quinn has always had a passion for basketball. Even in his formative years as a star player at St. Thomas Aquinas High School and then Colby-Sawyer College in New London, he was certain he wanted to be a coach. And Quinn has done some coaching.
He spent seven years in the college ranks working as an assistant under Jim Ferry at NCAA Division III Plymouth State University, Division II Adelphi University and Division I Long Island University.
And now he is the new boys basketball coach at Berwick Academy in South Berwick, Maine.
"It was a tough decision (to leave the college game)," said Quinn, 31, who is back living in his hometown of Rye after calling New York City and Washington, D.C, his home. "At the Division I level it's a grind, a lot of travel. It's a job that is 24-7. It was very consuming."
Too consuming for Quinn, who said he wanted to get more balance in his life and wanted to get back to the area of his youth, closer to family and friends. So he left the college coaching life behind, returned to the Seacoast area in October of 2006. Before he knew it he was coaching the Portsmouth Middle School boys team. He enjoyed that and when the Berwick job opened up late this past fall, he applied and was hired to the position.
"I missed the dynamic of teaching basketball," said Quinn, who works in e-mail marketing for a Washington, D.C., firm. "I really enjoy working with kids at the high school level. It's more suitable for my personality. I want to try and foster dedication and love for the game.
"They haven't been great and we'll try and get better," Quinn said of BA. "We'll see where it goes. I want to attract some good student-athletes from the area who want to get a good education and happen to want to play basketball."
@Cutline nameline:PAT QUINN New Berwick Academy boys basketball coach
In his playing days at St. Thomas, Quinn was one half of a well-known tandem at the time known as Baker and Quinn. Baker being Jamie Baker, who later became a scholarship player at Bentley College. It was at a Bentley summer hoop camp where, through Baker, Quinn made the acquaintance of Jim Ferry, then a Bentley assistant who had recruited Baker.
"We got to know each other there and that's how it started," Quinn said.
At St. Thomas, Quinn played for Dan Parr, the dean of New Hampshire coaches, and in college he played for Bill Foti at Colby-Sawyer.
"Both are excellent coaches," he said. "They are different in their styles, but I benefitted tremendously from both. Parr, as a high school player made it fun, fun to play the game. He wanted kids to go out there and play and have fun.
"It was a major adjustment at Colby-Sawyer," Quinn added. "He's an excellent, excellent coach. They had impacts, but in different ways."
Quinn said he had a love for the game growing up, and the dream of coaching was always on the periphery. He still keeps active playing in area men's leagues, as well as running hoop camps through Gold's Gym in Portsmouth.
"I love teaching it and playing it. It's a passion of mine. It keeps me ticking," he added.
And now that he's back coaching, but now at the high school level, the big adjustment for Quinn is realizing the talent he dealt with in college will not be the same at Berwick.
"I like the challenge," he said. "Here's what you got, get the most out of it. It's the biggest adjustment, but it's an adjustment I really like."