tampabay.com

Special bond: signed, sealed

By RICK STROUD
Published July 18, 2007


TAMPA

It was 4:40 Tuesday morning when auto mechanic Johnny P. Dixon arrived at Borders on Dale Mabry, becoming the first in line waiting to have his book signed by Colts coach Tony Dungy.

Nearly 12 hours later, Dixon got his wish when Dungy autographed his memoir, Quiet Strength.

The demand was so high for the former Buc coach's autograph that Borders was forced to allow only the first 400 people to get in line for the book signing. Dixon, who received a wristband at 9 a.m., left for breakfast and returned. He said he was being paid by his boss to get two books signed by Dungy.

It was basically the same story in Lakeland earlier Tuesday and at Lifeway Christian Store in Citrus Park. Dungy's wife, Lauren, and Nathan Whitaker, who co-wrote the book, also participated in the signing.

"It's hard to imagine," Dungy said. "You know it's going to be a nice response, but I never expected anything like this. But Tampa has been so special over the last 11 years and it continues."

Among those waiting in line was one of Dungy's former players, defensive end Steve White.

"It just shows the impact Coach Dungy had beyond football on this community," White said.

Rick Stroud can be reached at stroud@sptimes.com.