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  • Jan
    14

    Tony Dungy Announces Retirement From Indianapolis Colts

    tony dungy super bowl.jpg

    It is a sad day for NFL football. On Monday afternoon, Tony Dungy announced his retirement as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. The announcement brought an end to 31 devoted years to football at the highest level of play. Dungy won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers and became the 1st African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl Championship and hoist the Lombardi Trophy for the Indianapolis Colts just 2 years ago. Dungy is only 53-years old and had only been with the Colts for 7 successful seasons. A year ago, the Colts organization put a “succession plan” in place when it named Jim Caldwell as Dungy’s associate head coach. But no one ever really thought the Dungy run would end so soon. Caldwell will, in fact, take over the Colts reins for the 2009 NFL season.

    Dungy felt the time was right for him to become a full-time Dad and a dedicated volunteer. Dungy felt “a real peace about” his decision, stating: “Don’t shed any tears for me. I got to live a dream most people don’t get to live.” Dungy leaves his legacy in so many different ways.

    Dungy holds the NFL record for the highest average of regular-season victories of any head coach with 10.7. He also holds the record for most consecutive playoff seasons with 10 and most consecutive seasons with at least 12 wins with 6. Dungy helped open the door for several black coaches who accompanied him on his staffs in Tampa Bay and Indianapolis. Current NFL head coaches Herm Edwards (Kansas City Chiefs), Lovie Smith (Chicago Bears) and Mike Timlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), as well as former Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli (now an assistant with Lovie Smith in Chicago) all considered Dungy a mentor. Each man is also eternally grateful for Dungy for paving the way for black coaches to obtain and maintain head coaching positions in the NFL.

    Dungy is also a man of faith and he focused on spreading goodwill to those less than fortunate than him with involvement in numerous NFL-related charity organizations. Two of his rival coaches summed it up best.

    Herm Edwards – “His biggest legacy will be all the people around the country who he’s inspired to be better and to deal with some of life’s tragedies in a manner that gives people a lot of strength.” (Alluding to Dungy’s ability to deal with his eldest son’s tragic suicide just weeks before the Colts playoff run in 2005-6 which ultimately ended with the Super Bowl against the Chicago Bears who were coached by his friend Lovie Smith).

    Patriots’ Head Coach Bill Belichick – “People often say that teams reflect their head coach, and that can be said of Tony Dungy’s teams, which are consistent winners every single year. Tony has been such a fixture in this league that his absence will take some getting used to.”

    ESPN’s Jeffri Chadiha also wrote a great piece on Dungy’s NFL legacy. Dungy will surely be missed, both as a coach and a person. Here’s to you Tony. You led your life with devotion and dedication to your faith, your family and your sport – football. And you played it straight each and every day. Good luck on your next venture and we’re sure we’ll hear from you soon…

    tony dungy father.jpg

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