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Catamount Football, Mark Speir Add Pair of Coaches

Shawn Quinn takes over as WCU's defensive coordinator, joining the Catamount staff after a year at Charleston Southern. (Photo courtesy of CSU media relations)

Jan. 17, 2013

Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina head football coach Mark Speir announces the additions of two coaches to fill his coaching staff. Former Charleston Southern defensive coordinator Shawn Quinn and Carson-Newman running backs coach De'Rail Sims have joined the Catamount football program.

Quinn replaces former defensive coordinator, Curtis Walker, who took the head coaching job at his alma mater, Catawba College, in early December, while Sims fills WCU's vacant running backs coach position.

"We are excited about the addition of both Shawn Quinn and De'Rail Sims to our football staff here at Western Carolina University," said Speir. "Both of these men bring a tremendous amount of energy, passion and knowledge of the game to our program."

He added, "Shawn has been at all levels of football - from BCS schools on down - and has had success with every program he's worked with. He is noted as an exceptional recruiter and brings a lot of positive energy and new ideas to our staff and program. He's been able to raise the level of performance defensively at every stop in his career. And De'Rail is a very high-energy football coach and an excellent recruiter. He is a young coach who has been part of an exceptional football program at Carson-Newman."

Quinn comes to Cullowhee having spent the 2012 season at Charleston Southern, joining the Buccaneers staff during the summer prior to the season. Under Quinn's tutelage, CSU led the Big South Conference in pass defense (145.5 yards per game) a year ago, while also ranking third in scoring defense and total defense (354.4 ypg), creating 15 turnovers on the year including eight interceptions and seven fumbles.

He additionally has coordinator experience from a year working as the co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, La.

Quinn is familiar with the Southern Conference as he spent two seasons on staff in Statesboro, Ga., at Georgia Southern. With the Eagles, he held the title of linebackers coach while also serving as the recruiting coordinator.



Quinn began his coaching career at the high school level, coaching outside linebackers and tight ends for a year at Armuchee (Ga.) High before spending five years coaching the defensive line at Maryville (Tenn.) High where he helped lead the team to the 1998 Tennessee Class 4-A state championship. He then landed on the staff of former University of Tennessee head coach, Phillip Fulmer, as an offensive graduate assistant, taking part in the Vols' 2001 SEC East Championship.

All told, from 1999-2002, Quinn coached in three bowl games under Fulmer and served as the position coach for Lou Groza Award finalist, placekicker Alex Walls, who earned All-SEC and second team All-America honors from the Sporting News in 2000.

From 2002-07, Quinn coached outside linebackers and the defensive line at Louisiana-Lafayette where six defensive linemen earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors. The Rajin' Cajuns earned a share of the 2005 Sun Belt Conference championship with a total of six players going on to join the NFL. He also worked as a defensive line assistant for LSU during the 2008 season. Five Tiger linemen went on to NFL training camps including Tyson Jackson being selected in the third round of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Overall, seventeen of Quinn's signees at his various collegiate stops have gone on to play in the NFL.

A four-year starter along the defensive line at Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., Quinn was an All-South Atlantic Conference (SAC) selection, helping the Eagles claim four conference championships. He graduated with a degree in history and political science in 1995 before earning a Master's degree from Lincoln Memorial University.

De'Rail Sims will coach the Catamount running backs, coming to Cullowhee from Carson-Newman. (Photo courtesy of C-N media relations)

Sims makes the move to WCU from perennial Division-II football power, Carson-Newman, after spending a season coaching the Eagles' running backs, while additionally serving as the program's video coordinator. Last year, Sims worked with Carson-Newman's running attack which led Division II football by averaging nearly 380 rushing yards per game and 52 touchdowns on the ground. The 52 rushing scores on the ground were the most among all schools in all NCAA divisions - and only Georgia Southern averaged more yards per rush than did C-N.

Under Sims' tutelage, Carson-Newman junior running back Brandon Baker rushed for 1,468 yards - the third-best in Eagles' history - and 13 TDs. Baker's 8.25 yards per carry were the best in the nation for anyone with more than 100 carries in 2012. He was named first team All-SAC as well as earned postseason honors in being selected to the Associated Press (AP) Little All-America Team and was named to the Don Hansen All-Super Region II team.

A native of Union, S.C., where he won a South Carolina State Championship in 2002, Sims was a two-year starter for the University of Pikeville in Kentucky, playing from 2006-08. He got his start in collegiate coaching in 2009 at Pikeville as a student assistant coaching the outside linebackers.

Following his graduation with a history/political science degree, Sims spent the 2010 season coaching tight ends and coordinating the video aspects for Millersville University football program before returning to his alma mater as the running back coach and director of football operations in 2011. He additionally served as the head coach for Pikeville's junior varsity squad.

Returning to campus for the spring semester, Western Carolina's football team is amidst off-season strength and conditioning workouts. National Signing Day for football is Wednesday, Feb. 6, with a special Signing Day gathering scheduled for the following Monday, Feb. 11, in the Ramsey Center Hospitality Room. Speir and the coaching staff anticipate opening spring drills in Cullowhee in March and April, 2013.