North Carolina's Robert Quinn Named ACC's Piccolo Award Winner
Dec. 5, 2008
GREENSBORO, N.C. - North Carolina defensive end Robert Quinn (Ladson, S.C.) is the recipient of the 2008 Brian Piccolo Award, Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced today.
The Piccolo Award has been given annually since 1972 in memory of the late Brian Piccolo to the "most courageous" football player in the ACC. Piccolo was the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1965 and played for the Chicago Bears before his career was cut short when he was stricken with cancer. His courageous fight against that disease was an inspiration to the Bears and the entire football community.
Quinn, in his senior year in high school, was diagnosed with a brain tumor after collapsing in his family bathroom. A CT scan revealed a tumor that was blocking his spinal cavity. Fortunately, the tumor was determined to be benign. Quinn then underwent a five-hour emergency surgery that included having a shunt placed in his brain to relieve fluid buildup.
He entered UNC this fall as a true freshman and finished third in ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year voting after starting 11 of 12 games at defensive end. He has made 32 tackles, including 20 primary hits, 6.5 tackles for losses, two quarterback sacks and three hurries. He has forced two fumbles and has one pass breakup.
"Our entire team is thrilled for Robert, said North Carolina Head Coach Butch Davis. The courage and determination he has shown to battle back and play at the level he is playing as a true freshman is a testament to the type of person and player he is."
Quinn becomes the fourth North Carolina student-athlete to be honored with the Piccolo Award but the first since 1985, joining Paul Miller (1970), Jim Webster (1971) and Danny Burmeister (1985) as former North Carolina student-athletes who have received the Piccolo Award.