Sports plays a big part in Danny Sullivan's life and coaching can likely be found in his DNA. That's why Sullivan and Palo Alto High appear to be a good match.
Sullivan, a quarterback at Los Gatos High and then at Arizona State, was named the head football coach at Paly recently. Palo Alto Athletic Director Kathi Bowers confirmed the hiring on Wednesday night.
Sullivan's lineage is something special. In addition to serving as a team captain both as a sophomore and senior with the Sun Devils, his family tree is stocked full of athletic prowess.
Grandfather Dan Sullivan played basketball at the University of Nevada. His well-known uncle, Carroll Williams, was a long-time basketball coach and athletic director at Santa Clara University.
Another uncle, Kevin Sullivan, pitched for the San Jose State baseball team and uncle Brian Sullivan pitched in the Montreal Expos' minor league system.
During his senior year at Los Gatos, Sullivan completed 134-of-220 passes for 2,435 yards and 24 touchdowns against six interceptions in leading the Wildcats to the 2005 Central Coast Section Medium School title.
Considered one of the most persistent and smartest player at Arizona State, Sullivan played in 35 games, including nine starts during his senior season in the fall of 2009.
The back-up quarterback his first three years, Sullivan was the holder for field goals and PATs in his junior year. He completed 208-of-399 passes (52.1 percent) for 2,348 yards, 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in his career.
Sullivan accumulated most of his stats while a starter. He completed 168-of-312 (53.8 percent) for 1,939 yards with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions on the year and rushed for three scores. He threw at least one touchdown pass in eight of the 10 games in which he appeared in his final season.
The Sun Devils finished 4-8 in 2009, losing four games by five points or less. Sullivan was 4-5 as a starer. One of his final collegiate passes was a 14-yard scoring toss on a fourth-and-12 play that tied the game against rival Arizona.
"We played musical chairs with him, and for him to come out and play like he did says a lot about his character and how he studies the game," Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said afterward. "The best I've seen him play all year was the second half of that football game."