On the water with the coach

Life is funny sometimes. Julie O’Neill, a friend from Pendleton
Center United Methodist Church, asked me for a favor. Would I
consider being part of a Christmas present to her new boss,
University of Buffalo head football coach Jeff Quinn? That’s never
happened before – me as a present. O’Neill had stumbled across that
Quinn was a fishing nut and she thought it would be an interesting
and unique kind of present, to gift the local outdoor writer for a
couple hours of angling discussion as we broke bread in an area
restaurant.

As we started to mesh schedules, it was evident we would have to
plan well in advance. June 17 was the date we selected way back
when the snow was flying. As we came closer to the date, the lunch
morphed into a fishing outing on his Lund – which he keeps at
Anchor Marine on Grand Island, his new home in Western New York.
After the wettest spring on record in Western New York, Mother
Nature threw us a changeup right down the middle. The day was a
home run all the way around. Well, in light of Quinn’s profession,
we probably should be using a football analogy. It was a
touchdown.

Quinn eats, breathes and lives football. And football is the
vehicle he uses to prepare his players for the real deal – life
beyond the football field. He’s the total package when it comes to
handling the big game… and teaching what will happen when time
runs out on the game clock and life after college begins. He’s as
much about spiritual, intellectual and social development as he is
about the physical development. Maybe even more so. Quinn is also
about doing things right, like following the golden rule, not being
a quitter and buying into a team concept. If I was playing football
and heading into college, I would want to be part of his team.

Quinn grew up in a strong Irish Catholic family in Chicago, but
they spent their summers fishing in Wisconsin at a cottage on the
Rock River. He believes strongly in the five “F’s” – Faith, Family,
Football, Fishing and Fun. Our day on the water was enlightening,
inspiring and a delight.

The fishing? Outstanding! Fishing Buffalo harbor with green
pumpkin Stik-O worms on a one-eighth ounce jighead, we caught over
60 smallmouth bass for the morning – and we lost at least that
many. It was one of the best bass days we’d ever experienced and
the time flew by. In fact, we ended up missing lunch because of
numerous “one more cast” or “one last drift” scenarios. Food was
not one of the “F’s.”

We wish Coach Quinn all the success in the world. Check out a
Bulls football game this fall, the only Division 1-A football
program in Western New York.

At the end of the trip I was left wondering who the gift was
for.

 

Categories: New York – Bill Hilts Jr

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