When James Quinn returned to track and field as an assistant coach at Fort Dorchester High School last year, he didn't even have to leave the house to begin recruiting players to help return the Patriots to greatness.
One of the first athletes to commit to the program was his son Miguel.
The Patriots were a force in track and field in the 1990s, winning the Class AAA state championship in 1996. But the program had suffered through some tough times in recent years. Two years ago, the Patriots didn't even score a point in Summerville High School's Azalea Outback Classic. This year, the Patriots were crowned champs of the event, and a big reason for the Patriots' success was the performance of the younger Quinn and other sprinters the elder Quinn coaches.
"Two years ago, we had 35 kids try out for the short sprint events," said Quinn, who assists head coach Fred Hamilton. "Five stuck with it. One of them was Miguel. One of the reasons he came out was because he knew I had that track background. I think Miguel, once he found out I was coaching, took it to another level."
The elder Quinn had a brilliant career at Baptist College, which is now known as Charleston Southern. Quinn, who graduated in 1987, competed in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and ran a leg of the 4x100-meter relay. But his specialty was the 110-meter high hurdles. He was an All-American in the hurdles and ran a time that was fast enough to qualify for the U.S. Olympic trials. But he suffered an ankle injury prior to the tryouts, which slowed him in the Olympic trials as he missed out on his bid to compete in the 1984 Olympics, which were held in Los Angeles.
"I heard something pop in my ankle, and it bothered me that entire summer," coach Quinn said. "I wouldn't say I would have made the team if I had been healthy. But I would have had a better chance."
Roger Kingdom won the gold medal in the 110 hurdles in 1984, and Kingdom's nephew, Matt, competed in track and field for Summerville High School a few years ago.
Miguel Quinn is one of the top sprinters in the state. The 6-2, 180-pound senior swept the sprint events at the Sandlapper Track and Field Classic. He won the 100-meter dash and finished second in the 200 at the Azalea Outback Classic.
Last week, he performed well at the Coaches Classic. He won the 100 in 11.09 seconds and finished second in the 200 with a clocking of 22.74, despite being slowed by a groin injury.
"I think I ran OK considering everything," Quinn said after the meet. "I felt good in the 100, but it was a little sore in the 200. I've run faster times, so it wasn't my best, but I'm pretty happy. I just have to get healthy and keep improving. I feel like I'm on the right track. The season is still early."
Quinn has been clocked at 11.09 two times this spring. His best time is a 10.8 he ran at the Class AAAA state qualifier last May.
Quinn also played football for Fort Dorchester. He played in the Patriots' secondary and recorded 64 tackles and one interception last fall.
Miguel's older brother, Robert, also excelled in two sports at Fort Dorchester. Robert was a state champion in wrestling and had his senior football season cut short when he had brain surgery because of a tumor.
He's completely healthy now and is a star defensive end for the North Carolina Tar Heels.
"The two are different," coach Quinn said of his sons. "Robert is more laid-back. Miguel brags. Well, he doesn't really brag. He just says he's going to win."
And in this case, Miguel Quinn's speed supports his claim.