Paly hires former Arizona State QB as its new football coach


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."

— Palo Alto Online Sports

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.


5 people like this
Posted by the truth!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 3, 2016 at 1:54 pm


3 people like this
Posted by the truth!
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm


2 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Marie is a registered user.

And how much are they paying this coach? And who is paying for him - not boosters I hope. With all the information available about CTE, why is anyone wanting to encourage kids whose brains are more susceptible to concussion to play high school football?

14 people like this
Posted by in the data
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 3, 2016 at 2:19 pm

@Marie, in defense of football - CTE is generally something seen in athletes playing for a long period of time. The odds of a high school senior playing football making it to the NCAA - 1 in 17. The odds of a high school senior making it to the NFL - 9 in 10,000.
Speaking of head trauma in general, skiing/snowboarding and cycling have the same rates of head trauma as football. So if you are keeping your child from playing football for that reason, you should also make them walk to school and pick up snowshoeing as a winter activity.
Web Link

4 people like this
Posted by Melissa Anderson
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 4, 2016 at 5:00 pm

I'm Paly Sports Boosters' co-president. We do NOT pay coaches stipends. Only the district can pay personnel.

Like this comment
Posted by CoachFromAnotherTown
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 9, 2016 at 10:45 am

CoachFromAnotherTown is a registered user.

@ Posted by Marie a resident of Midtown on Mar 3, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Gee Marie, follow along. Have you been following the lackluster PAHS hires in both Baseball and especially in Football since Earl stepped down.

HS coaching jobs receive a STIPEND and coaching HS sports is way harder than the stipend coaches receive. I have made anywhere from 2000 dollars to 4000 dollars and a coach spends that much on his own time making xerox copies or filling up his car with gas.

Not to mention you never see ones family.

Like this comment
Posted by CoachFromAnotherTown
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 9, 2016 at 10:46 am

CoachFromAnotherTown is a registered user.

@ Melissa Anderson, thank you for setting Marie on the straight and narrow but I would have thought anybody would have know that info.

Thanks Melissa!

Like this comment
Posted by CoachFromAnotherTown
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 10, 2016 at 11:27 am

CoachFromAnotherTown is a registered user.

Can somebody maybe explain to me IF the new PALY Football coach has ever "coached football" before? The reason I ask is that just because the new coach is young and passionate and willing and able - I can tell you that earning ones head coaching stripes is not to be taken lightly.

Has he been an assistant before? Has he been an offensive coordinator before? Has he been a Def Coordinator before? Special teams co-coordinator?

If somebody knows please tell. The last hire was also supposed to be the "right fit" for the revered Paly Program.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Contemporary Indian restaurant, Ettan, headed to Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 6,225 views

Premarital and Couples: Tips for Hearing (Listening) and Being Known
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,461 views

Is racism also a local problem?
By Diana Diamond | 41 comments | 1,198 views

Two degrees can do all that?
By Sherry Listgarten | 14 comments | 1,163 views

Tame, Maim and Claim the Wild Sea Vegetable
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 676 views


Register today!

‚ÄčOn Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More