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Black History Month

Tony Dungy

By RICK STROUD
Published February 20, 2004

photo
Tony Dungy

AGE: 48.

CLAIM TO FAME: The Indianapolis Colts coach is one of the most respected men in the NFL and known for his commitment to faith, family and football.

Dungy is the winningest coach in Buccaneers history. In the 10 seasons before his arrival in Tampa Bay, the Bucs were 43-111 with nine double-digit losing seasons.

But in his first stint as a head coach, Dungy compiled a 54-42 regular-season record and earned four playoff appearances from 1996-2001.

In 1999, the Bucs won the NFC Central, their first division title in 18 seasons. They also came within a late drive of advancing to the Super Bowl, losing 11-6 to the St. Louis Rams.

Considered a defensive guru, Dungy's teams have annually been among the league's stingiest, including stints as defensive coordinator with the Steelers and Vikings.

After being fired by the Bucs after the 2001 season, the Dungy-built defense in Tampa Bay finished first overall in 2002 and helped lead the Bucs to a Super Bowl XXXVII victory.

Meanwhile, upon being hired by the Colts, he led a defensive revival. In his first season, the Colts improved by four wins to 10-6 overall while their defense rose from 29th to eighth in the NFL. This season, the Colts won the AFC South and lost to eventual Super Bowl champion New England in the AFC Championship Game.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING: "Too often, the best known sports figures don't have the character to match their talents. Newspapers' sports sections frequently read like court reports and police blotters. So it's important to celebrate those who triumph both between and beyond the white lines ... no one is more of an All Pro, on and off the field, than the man who commands the sidelines for Indianapolis." - Editorial in the Indianapolis Star Jan. 21, 2004, after the Colts lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

DID YOU KNOW?: Dungy was a quarterback for the Minnesota Golden Gophers from 1973-76, finishing as the school's career leader in pass attempts, completions, passing yards and touchdown passes. He signed with the Steelers as a free agent in 1977 and was converted from quarterback to receiver to defensive back. He played in the Steelers' 35-31 victory over the Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII.

Dungy is known for his contributions to the community. He is a public speaker for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and launched Mentors for Life, a program that provides tickets to Bucs home games for area youth and their mentors. He's a supporter of charitable children's organizations such as Family First, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys & Girls clubs as well as the Prison Crusades.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Dungy lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Lauren, and daughters Tiara and Jade and sons James, Eric and Jordan.

WORDS TO LIVE BY: "I would probably tell myself that although you're at the pinnacle of NFL football right now, it's not the biggest and most important thing in life. There's going to be a lot of ups and downs, so just enjoy the good time right now and know that that's not necessarily reality."

[Last modified February 20, 2004, 01:31:57]


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