Quinten Dormady and the moments that have built him
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M – Quinten Dormady remembers his frustration.
The expected future of the Tennessee football program was benched after five games as the starter in the 2017 season.
"You play this game to go out, have fun with the team and win," Dormady said. "Anytime that doesn't go as planned, it's tough."
Dormady, in six games, completed 76 of 137 passes that year for the Volunteers for 925 yards and six touchdowns against six interceptions.
He wasn't at his best.
"It's part of the game," Dormady said. "That's how it goes."
The 6-foot-5, 219-pound quarterback was on the right track after a 2-0 start to the campaign, earning wins over Georgia Tech and Indiana State.
Dormady's first loss came in Week 3 when Florida, led by coach Jim McElwain, defeated Tennessee on a Hail Mary. He threw three interceptions in a shocking defeat.
Two weeks later, the Volunteers were annihilated by Georgia, 41-0, and Dormady was replaced by Jarrett Guarantano. He later had season-ending shoulder surgery.
"You just have to move on and leave the past in the past and focus on the present," Dormady said.
Following a one-year stint at Houston as a graduate transfer in 2018 where Dormady took a redshirt for medical reasons, he became a rare double graduate transfer by making the move to play for Central Michigan.
Of course, McElwain – the leader of the Gators that beat Dormady two years ago – was the head coach that brought him in to control the offense in Mount Pleasant.
"We kind of take jabs messing with each other," Dormady said. "That one brings back bad memories for me and good ones for him, so it is what it is."
Offensive coordinator Charlie Frye said Dormady learned from his failures at Tennessee, and he knew it would allow him to lead the Chippewas with poise and determination.
"It teaches you more than anything you can do in a classroom or anything I can tell him," Frye said. "It is a position you learn from experience, and you take those experiences and become a better player."
Dormady has completed 179 of 268 passes for 2,148 yards and 14 touchdowns against six interceptions in nine games to help pace Central Michigan to an 8-5 record and 6-2 mark in the Mid-American Conference.
He's guided the Chippewas to a MAC championship appearance and now a spot in the New Mexico Bowl against San Diego State at 2 p.m. Saturday at Dreamstyle Stadium.
"This is a huge opportunity for us as a team and conference to represent the MAC," Dormady said. "I look forward to getting out there on Saturday and showing what we are all about."
During his three-year tenure at Tennessee, Dormady took part in the Outback Bowl, a 45-6 victory, against Northwestern as a true freshman and the Music City Bowl, a 38-24 win, over Nebraska as a sophomore.
Dormady's next bowl game didn't come until the 2018 season with Houston when the Cougars lost the Armed Forces Bowl, 70-14, to Army.
Through those three bowl games in his first four seasons, Dormady never had a chance to start.
With the Chippewas, that has changed.
"These guys chose to make more out of it than anyone thought," McElwain said. "I'm just really happy for those all kids."
Dormady made an immediate decision to buy into what was placed in front of him by McElwain and Frye. As McElwain said, it was a choice that every player had to make – Dormady included.
His father, Mike Dormady, said his son had to learn to take care of himself and set an example for what he wanted his college football legacy to be once the clock strikes triple zeros in his final appearance.
Dormady understood that mental aspect of his performance, and he made it a point to help turn the program from a 1-11 record in 2018 under former coach John Bonamego to a top squad in the MAC just one year later.
He was able to accomplish his goal of revolutionizing the team through his leadership and veteran psyche.
"Being able to understand what the big picture is and having guys understand that this standard isn’t quite good enough," Mike Dormady said. "You’ve gotta elevate your standards based on how high you wanna go and what you’re willing to tolerate."
Dormady's lack of tolerance for anything but success was exemplified down the stretch after recovering from a knee injury and replacing suspended junior quarterback David Moore.
The Chippewas won four of their last five games in the regular season with Dormady at the helm to secure a spot in the MAC championship game.
Again, Dormady was able to get the job done with a team coming off a 1-11 record, a team that was picked to finish last in the conference.
"I took that to heart too because I’m part of the team," Dormady said. "Where they hurt, I hurt too. It was definitely a huge motivating factor for us.”
With one game remaining before he has to leave his Chippewa helmet in the locker room, Dormady has a chance to put an exclamation point on a college career that had more negatives than positives.
Dormady is in pursuit of his first bowl game victory as a starter.
"It's been fun and awesome," Dormady said. "This is one of the better teams I've been a part of.
"I love this team."