Mike Tomlin has ties to Seahawks' Quinn

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
11:30
AM ET
PITTSBURGH -- There aren't any ex-Steelers players on the Seattle Seahawks roster. Nor are there any coaches on Pete Carroll's staff with ties to the Steelers.

There is, however, a connection between Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

Quinn, who is preparing this week for Super Bowl XLVIII, recommended Tomlin for the job that launched the latter's coaching career.

That happened in 1995 when Tomlin joined Virginia Military Institute's staff as a wide receivers coach.

Quinn and Tomlin had spent the previous year together at William & Mary, with the former coaching the defensive line and the latter playing wide receiver and also serving as captain. When Quinn left William & Mary for VMI, he pushed for Tomlin's hiring.

"You knew that Mike Tomlin had 'it,'" Quinn said Tuesday during Super Bowl Media Day, "so that's why it was so easy for me to recommend him as [wide receivers coach]. I saw what he was as a player, how he led the team and how people just gravitated toward him. You knew when a guy had terrific leadership skills."

Those skills translated into Tomlin rising quickly in the coaching ranks and landing the Steelers job at the age of 34.

He became the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl in just his second season in Pittsburgh, and Tomlin is 71-41 as a head coach.

His success has not surprised Quinn.

"There was no doubt in my mind that he was going to be a terrific coach," Quinn said. "That's the understatement, right there."

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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