AB, MEd, SEd, ABD, #3, #4, top 20 is more than a seeming jumble of numbers and letters, rather it is a succinct description of Nathaniel Eugene Quinn, Jr. He earned the AB degree in biology from Drury in 1980, completed his masters a year later, the specialist in education in 1997 and now is "ABD" (all but dissertation) on his way to a doctorate.
Quinn's name is number three on Drury's all time scoring list, number four in all time assists and in the top 20 in rebounds, unusually proficient for a guard. In fact Nate seems to be very good at anything he tries. His winning spirit got its start in Boley, Okla., where Quinn grew up. Nate also credits Drury's scholar-athlete tradition for a chunk of his success. "My experiences with Drury athletics helped provide a strong foundation and work ethic which continues today. Hard work, persistence and keeping a proper attitude toward achieving one's goals has contributed to my career."
As Quinn met the challenges of the classroom, he also helped Drury to one of its athletic heights, the 1979 NAIA national championship, where he and James Bone were two of the "fab five," the nucleus of a powerful team.
Quinn is fortunate - today his work still combines sport and scholarship. He is assistant principal at Springfield's Hillcrest High School. Before that, as the school's basketball coach, Quinn racked up more wins than any basketball coach in Hillcrest history.
He believes Drury's emphasis on excellence in academics may be more important today than ever, given society's perception that athletes do not perform well in class and do not graduate. "In order to participate in sports, athletes must pass their classes. Athletes graduate at higher rates than non-athletes because of the rules forced on them to maintain eligibility." And Quinn indeed excelled at Drury academics. He earned NAIA All-American and Academic All-American Team honors, the first Drury scholar-athlete to do so. (There would be more such players on Drury's rosters, except that the program was not begun until 1980 and thus many earlier players were not eligible for this academic honor.)
Quinn remembers that during those years everyone was excited about the Panthers. "Our coaches expected us to excel in the classroom. They wanted us to be not only the #1 ranked basketball team in the country, but the best and the brightest." For him and his teammates, academics and athletics went together like a ball in a hoop. "I'm proud to be a part of that Drury tradition. This excellence provided me with the opportunity to become a productive member of our community."