Di Canio took over from Martin O'Neill at the Stadium of Light last season but lasted just 13 games, saving the Black Cats from relegation in 2012-13 but only picking up one point from the opening five matches of the current campaign.
Gus Poyet has since replaced the controversial Italian at the helm of the club, and Quinn has been impressed with the job that the new boss has done so far.
"When I left, I did feel Martin O'Neill was the right man and it would go from strength to strength, and I am as puzzled as any Sunderland fan as to why that relationship - Martin O'Neill and Sunderland football club - isn't still going and isn't thriving. The Paolo Di Canio thing, we now know, was a debacle in many respects. Everyone will remember the Newcastle result [a 3-0 win]. But it was not to be," Quinn told reporters.
"I don't know Gus Poyet but I think if I had been at the club, I don't think Gus Poyet would have hit my radar as strong as it did Ellis Short. From the outside looking in I really like what I see. I am more than pleasantly surprised. He has a real thirst and vitality that he wants to make this work. It's very important that he is buying into the region, like I did all those years ago. I like that.
"But I also like the way he has a team who are down at the bottom of the league, supposedly doomed to relegation, all the fears in the world should be there, and they played some beautiful football yesterday against Manchester City. Wes Brown was an inspiring leader to come back in and do what he did after 22 months out. It tells me there something good happening in the dressing room."