Spartan Nation Has Its Own Dungy(s)


Just a few days ago, Tony Dungy announced that he was ready to hang up the headset and follow a new path in life. After 7 years with the Indianapolis Colts, he has established himself as one of the most well respected, admired, and successful coaches of his era.

He was the first black Head Coach to ever win a Super Bowl, took his teams to 10 consecutive playoff appearances, and was the first NFL Head Coach to defeat all 32 teams. 

But what you won’t see about Dungy was his commitment to the team, players and his position. 

Far too often we see Coaches just passing time until the next bigger job comes along. From college to pros, we see what has commonly known as the “coaching carousel” spin faster and faster each year. 

But it’s not just the coaches that are to blame. In a “what have you done for me lately” league, it’s not too often that contracts are fulfilled and honored by the terms both parties have agree upon.

But coaching isn’t about bouncing from team to team, city to city and program to program. It’s about establishing a relationship; a relationship with your organization (franchise or university), your coaching staff, current players, future players and fans. 

When coaches swing faster than the turnstiles at the stadiums they work it, it hurts each of the aforementioned relationships they are there to create. 

After the Lane Kiffen, Oakland Raiders debacle, Kiffen was fired and left for a job with the University of Tennessee. For this I cannot blame Kiffen, he was fired and justifiably has the right to find a job to support his family. But not too long after Kiffen was hired as the Vols’ Head Coach, his former staff started to fill up with former staff still employed by the Raiders. 

Interim Head Coach Tom Cable shared his sentiments in an interview shortly after the exodus; “This is our world. If I can speak freely here, it’s about pride, it’s about commitment, it’s about trusting everybody next to you. So, to walk your ass out of here is about as bad a deal as you could possibly do to that group of guys.”..."I'm pissed. That's the best way to put it. Quite frankly, that's the only way I can put it."

Unfortunately, this theme is common one throughout sports. Fortunately, there are still coaches that show what Dungy has embodied over his Hall of Fame coaching career. 

Spartan fans, you’ve found you’re Dungy and it’s a two-headed savior. Both Tom Izzo and Mark Dantonio has showed their commitment to being the cornerstone of their respective programs. Athletes will come and go, some for 5 years, some for less, but with what these two have put in place their dedication to Michigan State University can never be challenged. 

While Dungy won’t go down as the best Head Coach in the game, or even of his era, what he has done for the respect of the game, his players and fans can’t be diminished. 


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