UPDATE: Quinn disappointed that he was terminated as Fenwick basketball coach
John Quinn, directing the Friars in 2012, served as Fenwick coach longer than any other in the school's history. | Chandler West—For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 25, 2013 10:23PM
Rumors that started as early as Saturday became reality Wednesday when Fenwick released a statement that boys basketball coach John Quinn was dismissed after 28 years at the Oak Park Catholic school.
Athletic director Scott Thies said: “Fenwick High School has decided to make a change in its basketball program. As a result, John Quinn will no longer be the head basketball coach. He will, however, continue his duties as a valued member of the Fenwick faculty. ... He has made many contributions to the program and we thank him for his many years of dedication and service to the Fenwick basketball program.”
Standout freshman Michael Smith said he first heard about his coach’s impending firing after receiving a text message while studying on Sunday.
“It was out of the blue,” said Smith, a Burr Ridge resident. “It said, ‘Coach Quinn was being dismissed.’ I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it.”
Fenwick did not have school Monday, so Smith and the rest of his teammates officially heard about Quinn’s firing Wednesday afternoon at a team meeting with athletic director Scott Thies.
By then, Smith said, “I was not in shock. (The rumor) was going around school so much.”
Smith said Thies told the team, “ ‘We have decided to move on. It was a hard decision.’ ”
“I honestly don’t know why they dismissed (Quinn),” Smith said. “He treated everybody fairly and right.”
Quinn’s final game was a 55-46 loss to Orr in the Class 3A Riverside-Brookfield Sectional semifinal March 6. The Friars (18-9, 7-4 Catholic North) had won seven of their last eight games entering the contest.
Quinn said in an email late Wednesday that he stood by his accomplishments of his young players.
“I am very disappointed with the decision of the current administration to terminate my position as head coach of the Fenwick boys basketball team, but I am very proud of the record that my fellow coaches, players, and I have compiled over the last 28 years. The student athletes in our program have always performed with honor and great skill, both on the court and in the classroom.
“I am particularly proud of the players on my current team. Although often starting only one senior, the team achieved an 18-9 record and won a regional championship before falling to Orr Academy, which is in the Final Four of the Class 3A State Championship. And more importantly, they regularly made the academic honor roll and became members of the National Honor Society along the way.
“I deeply cherish the experience of coaching Fenwick young men and will miss the opportunity to coach this group next year and in the years beyond. I wish them great success on the court and in their lives off the court.”
Fenwick went 16-9 in Quinn’s first season in 1985-86, after he took over for Will Rey, the current coach at Northridge Prep. Quinn led the Friars to their only state tournament appearance in 1998 with current Pistons forward Corey Maggette. Fenwick finished 28-3 and set a school record for wins.
Quinn, the brother of Gov. Pat Quinn, graduated from Fenwick and teaches social studies there. He received the Golden Apple Award in 1992 and the Rev. Conway Outstanding Teacher Award in 1986.
Quinn was named the Catholic League coach of the year four times and the Illinois Basketball Coaches’ Association district coach of the year five times. He was enshrined into the Catholic League Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2010.
Fenwick’s first coach, the legendary Tony Lawless, owns the second longest tenure at the school of 16 years from 1933-48, according to IHSA.org records.