Naperville North Athletic Director Bob Quinn entering the homestretch of a storied career

Donate Today Buy This Video

“It’s our job as adults to leverage the teachable moments that happen hundreds and thousands of times during a student-athlete’s exposure to sports,” said Bob Quinn, Naperville North Athletic Director since 2014. “To teach them life lessons and help them be great adults, workers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, all of those things. That’s what we hope to do.”

Bob Quinn leaves a legacy felt across DuPage County

Throughout the past 38 years, Bob Quinn has impacted thousands of students as a teacher, coach, and athletic director at Wheaton Warrenville South, Naperville North, and Loras College. Quinn will retire after this school year, leaving behind a legacy that will always be felt across DuPage County.

“When I think of Bob, I think of the DVC (DuPage Valley Conference),” said Waubonsie Valley High School Athletic Director, Chris Neibch. “He is an advocate for kids, for student-athletes. It’s always students first with Bob, and I will greatly miss his leadership in the conference.”

Winning championships was a common theme for the Huskie AD

Quinn began his adventure as the Huskie AD in the summer of 2014 and will complete his tenth and final school year this May. He has been a part of multiple state championships across multiple sports, including; badminton, chess, competitive dance, girls soccer, and girls track & field. That doesn’t even include the dozens of conference, regional, and sectional titles earned by nearly every sport offered at Naperville North.

Quinn has also been a part of some IHSA dynasties. The Huskie girls cross country team won five state titles from 2014 to 2019. Other runs of postseason success include three straight boys soccer titles from 2016 through 2018 and back-to-back girls water polo championships in 2021 and 2022.

“We’ve had some great years in the soccer program and sharing that with somebody who you consider one your best friends, who’s also your boss, was special for me and my family,” said Naperville North Boys Soccer Coach Jim Konrad. “I appreciate those couple of years where we were going back-to-back with the girls cross country program, and Bob driving down there a hundred miles an hour to watch our cross country team win the state championship and then flying up to Hoffman Estates to watch us win the state championship.”

Quinn’s fight with cancer and how Naperville North supported him

Despite all the athletic success under his leadership, Quinn’s most significant victory did not come on the field, court, or any playing surface, but instead, when he defeated stage three colon cancer. He was diagnosed on Nov. 15, 2018. After a four-month battle, he finished chemo on March 15, 2019, and was pronounced as being in remission. 

“Well, Naperville North saved my life, without joking,” said Quinn. “Naperville North gave me a purpose, Naperville North gave me the opportunity to come to work every day, Naperville North provided a supportive community that loved me and cared for me and did my job when I couldn’t do it very well, which is unbelievable.”

“The other thing that saved my life are the lessons that I learned as a student-athlete; resiliency and teamwork,” said Quinn. “When you have cancer, you can’t beat it by yourself, you need to rely on a team.”

Quinn’s lifelong connection to the DuPage Valley Conference

Quinn has always been surrounded by the DVC. Although born in West Chester, PA, he moved to Wheaton when he was five years old and was a student-athlete at Wheaton-Warrenville High School. After playing baseball and graduating from Loras College, Quinn returned home to teach at his alma mater, now called Wheaton Warrenville South, after a merger with Wheaton Central.

He was in the classroom there for 14 years, serving as the head baseball coach and coaching girls tennis and boys basketball. He was at the school in the 1990s when the Tigers were one of the best football programs in the country.

“One of the things that I’ve been so blessed with is to work at places that have had great success,” said Quinn. “The success and the mentors that I have, being able to work with a guy like John Thorne, being able to work with a guy like Barry Brennan, who was the head basketball coach, Chuck Baker, the principal who gave me the chance to be an assistant principal and then ultimately the athletic director.”

In 2003, Quinn was hired as the Athletics Director and Assistant Principal for Athletics and Operations at Wheaton South, serving in that role with the Tigers for six years.

“Bob never worried about time because he just had a great work ethic,” said Wheaton Warrenville South Athletic Director Mike Healy. “He cared about the kids, you know, the relationships that he had with former players. He cared about his coaches and the community, and those are the basic foundations of being successful.”

Bob Quinn’s stop at Loras College and his journey to Naperville North

Returning home to one alma mater was not enough, as Quinn took his dream job in July 2009 as the Collegiate Athletic Director at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He commuted home any weekend that he could to be with his family, with his kids beginning to play high school sports. After five successful years in Iowa, the strain of the commute and desire for more family time led Quinn back to the western suburbs in 2014, where a former DVC foe was looking for a new athletic director.

Mike Healy, who took over for Quinn as AD at Wheaton South told his college friend and Naperville North soccer coach Jim Konrad that his old boss was back in the area.

Konrad had been the head boys soccer coach and athletic director at North since 2011, but was stepping down as AD due to a new rule in District 203 where Athletic Directors were no longer allowed to be head coaches as well.

Naperville North was already in stage two of the athletic director interview process, but they knew it was a perfect opportunity when they got word of Quinn’s interest in the position.

“So I called my boss, and they brought Bob in for an interview that week, and Bob got the job,” said Jim Konrad. “It’d be tough to compete against Bob in an interview process, right? He’s so eloquent, a great storyteller, and has a great grasp of what it means to be an administrator first and an athletic director as well. We were really lucky, and the timing was perfect.”

Quinn helping the conference realignment with Naperville North

Bob Quinn took on some challenges at Naperville North, but the biggest occurred when four schools, including Wheaton Warrenville South, left the DVC in the summer of 2018. The conference was left with only five teams, original members Naperville North and Naperville Central, along with Neuqua Valley, Metea Valley, and Waubonsie Valley, who had just joined in the fall of 2015. Quinn was one of the most important figures in helping bring structure and format for the future of the DVC.

“I love this league, and I love the rivalries that were created because of the DuPage Valley Conference. And one of those rivalries was the place I was, which was Wheaton Warrenville South. When they left, it was disappointing. However, it was an opportunity to move forward, grow, and do different things for our kids.”

The conference added DeKalb into the fold in 2019 to solidify scheduling issues, and beginning in 2024, the DVC football teams will play in a combined conference schedule with the Southwest Suburban Conference.

“It’s tough for schools to trust another conference,” said Konrad. “But the fact that Bob has that credibility around the state allowed us to make some moves that were going to help our kids and hopefully the other schools’ kids as well. Without Bob, I don’t think that happens.”

A friendly face now working in the Friendly Confines

Despite stepping away from high school athletics, Quinn will not leave the sports world for long.

His leadership will transition over to the Chicago Cubs. Starting this summer, the former head baseball coach at Wheaton Warrenville South will work on the grounds crew at Wrigley Field. He’ll reconnect with longtime friend and former Naperville Central baseball coach Bill Seiple, the official scorer for the Cubs.

“One of the things that I worry deeply about in retirement is, we’re working 60, 70 hours a week in many cases, certainly at the height of the three [sports] seasons,” said Quinn. “Going from 150 miles an hour to zero overnight is something that can be worrisome and has certainly been on my mind. So I’m looking forward to a new adventure with the Cubs.”

Now, Bob Quinn will move forward from Naperville North and into post-retirement If the timing is right, you might spot him working away while visiting the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. 

For more prep sports stories, visit the Naperville Sports Weekly page!