Coach Tony Dungy Steps Away with Honor
By Shawn Brown
The 700 Club
The 700 Club sports reporter, Shawn Brown, interviewed Coach Tony Dungy after his decision to retire from coaching in the NFL:
It’s been two years since that day in NFL history where Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy became the first African American coach to win a Super Bowl. And after over 30 years in the NFL as a player and a coach, he says is time to say goodbye. By the end of last season, Tony Dungy led the Indianapolis Colts to a 12-4 record. After yet another winning season, Coach says it was the perfect time for him to leave.
“It’s hard to leave on top when you’re winning," Coach Dungy said, "because it is so much fun when you’re winning games and in the playoffs and you’ve got a great team like we’ve had, and fun guys to coach. It’s hard to step away.”
Tony Dungy entered the NFL in 1977 as a defensive back with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Five years later, he joined the team as an assistant. For the next 14 years he was an assistant coach in the NFL. Then in 1996, he was hired as a head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After just one season, Dungy lead the Buccaneers to their first winning season in 15 years. But it wasn’t until he was hired by the Indianapolis Colts in 2002 that he was regarded as a winning coach. As he looks back over the years he says he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I wouldn’t do a whole lot different, Shawn; that’s one of the things that I’ve learned. I think my faith helps me in that," Coach Dungy said. "That you pray about decisions. You do what you think is best. You try to get conviction from the Lord. You do it and move on.”
While with Indianapolis, Coach Dungy led the Colts to the post season every year, finally winning Super Bowl XLI in 2007. But to him, coaching football was never just about winning.
“You should never be defined by what you do, by the things you have; you’ve got to define yourself by who you are and who you impact and how you impact people,” Coach Dungy said. “And that’s the thing I try to get across to my players. And if I was remembered for anything, I’d like it to be that - as this guy who helped young men get better off the field, really helped young guys grow into men. Probably my favorite thing would be to see a young man, 21 or 22, come into our organization, get drafted, and see him that first day; and then watch him develop as a player, a person, grow into a leader, and then see someone, you know years later, as kind of a finished product.”
“How does it make you feel to know you’ve influenced so many people throughout your career in the NFL?" Shawn asked.
“I was very, very happy with my career and the things that I’d been able to do: run into a lot of people, made a lot of great friends," he said. "And to see those friends kind of pour out that emotion, it made you feel like the Lord’s favor had been on your career.”
Tony Dungy leaves the NFL as the first head coach to defeat all 32 teams. Coach Dungy’s influence on the game will be felt long after his retirement especially through the coaches that coached under him, men like Lovie Smith, and Mike Tomlin. But he’s not leaving the spotlight without at least one more contribution - his latest book, Uncommon.
Uncommon is really a direct message - that there’s a wide path that society is following that looks inviting, but it may not be the best thing," Coach Dungy said. "The narrow path that “Uncommon” people will take that the Lord wants you to go down that really is the ultimate way to go.”
“You’ve been a successful player, successful coach, published three books - what’s next for Tony Dungy?" Shawn asked.
“I really don’t know what’s next," Coach Dungy answered. "I told our chaplain that and he recommended that I just take 40 days, kind of like the Lord did, and hear from the Lord. Take in everything. Try to determine where God’s going to go. So that’s what I want to do, take a couple of months and really try to see where God’s directing me. My heart’s toward youth ministry, but I don’t know. I never would have thought I would have written a book. And God kind directed that. So we’ll see what the next is.”
Coach Dungy will be greatly missed by NFL fans across the country. Whatever he does next he wants to make sure he delivers this message.
“The biggest thing would be that don’t give in to the tendency to follow the crowd," Coach Dungy said. "We’ve got a lot of messages coming at people about what they should do. And the tendency if you think a little bit differently, is well, you know how are people going to look at me, I’m not doing what everyone else is doing. We don’t need to do that. We need to be Uncommon and do, follow your dream. Follow what God had put in your heart.”
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