Tony Dungy: Once A Loss for Spartan Nation, Now a Huge Loss for Football Fans Everywhere


Tony Dungy: A Loss for Spartan Nation, a Huge Loss for Football Fans Everywhere



He might not be able to dance like Sean “Diddy” Combs. He might not have the bling of a Kanye West. It’s doubtful that he has the women that Jay-Z does. One thing that Tony Dungy does have is the respect of most all that come in contact with him and that is what makes Tony Dungy a more deserving role model than all of the previous examples listed. Throughout the course of Dungy’s career he continued to make decisions not based on fame or fortune, but based on what was best for his family, and what was right in his heart.


While many Spartan fans may know about coach Dungy’s great NFL coaching career, many may not know that he was almost a part of Spartan Nation.


“I wanted to be a Spartan” Dungy proclaimed in his autobiography, Quiet Strength. Both of Dungy’s parents received their graduate degrees from MSU, and that along with his great admiration for legendary Spartan coach, Duffy Daugherty, led to him wanting to play at Michigan State so passionately. Dungy goes on to say “if I ever did play in college, I knew it would be for Duffy Daugherty at Michigan State.


“Something got in the way of my vision of playing football for Duffy Daugherty at Michigan State: he retired” Dungy said of his eventual decision not to join Spartan Nation. Daugherty retired as the football coach in 1972, and as a result Dungy signed with Minnesota, and a former Daugherty assistant, Cal Stoll. “I saw joining his program at Minnesota as the closest thing to playing at Michigan State,” Dungy said in his book.


Unfortunately, Spartan Nation missed out on an amazing player. At Minnesota he set the schools records for passing yards, completions and touchdowns, and finished his career 4th in career total offense in the Big Ten conference. But as good of a player as he was, Dungy truly set himself apart with his coaching and his character.


The world of professional football is filled with coaches, many of them that like to yell. Often times when one thinks of an NFL coach they will envision the scowl of Jon Gruden, or the verbal thrashings of Bill Cowher, or Bill Parcells, but Dungy changed that. He was one of the first NFL coaches to be an effective “non-yeller,” for lack of a better term. Warren Sapp, one of Dungy’s former players, said of him in an interview, “He appeals to your man side, he’s not appealing to ‘I’m gonna attack you.’ He’s appealing to your intellect, that’s what I love about him.”


In addition to being a class act on the sidelines, Dungy also put class acts on the field.

Tony is the career wins leader for wins in Colts History, and was the Buccaneers career win leader until this November. He is the only coach in NFL history to post 6 consecutive seasons with at least 12 wins. He holds the NFL record for consecutive playoff appearances at 10 years in a row. In 2007 he became the first African American head coach to win a Super bowl. Dungy retired with the 11th highest winning percentage in NFL history.


While setting these marks Tony also gave back to the community. He and his wife Lauren are active in many charitable organizations, like Mentors for Life, aimed at helping children in the Tampa area, and All Pro Dad designed to help fathers interact with their children.


As a man, especially an African American man, Tony Dungy is one of my heroes. Coach Dungy is a great example for any young man or woman regardless of race, and he still would warrant that sort of admiration if he had never coached a game. He loves his family, treats people with respect, is a man of strong convictions and character, and a future hall of fame NFL coach to boot. There are men you wish could coach your team, and there are men you wish could coach your children; Tony Dungy is both.


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