Tony Dungy goes down in history as one of the best head coaches in the league – during his 13 seasons, he effectively revived the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts and led them to be highly-successful franchises in the NFL. Read below to learn more about his playing and coaching career in the NFL.
In 1973, Tony Dungy began his college football career at the University of Minnesota as the team’s starting quarterback. He had an impressive four years with the Gophers finishing as the program’s career leader in pass attempts, completions, touchdown passing and passing yards. He was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and received the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1977.
Although he had a spectacular college career, NFL teams failed to believe his arm could hold up well in the pros. Dungy was not selected in the 1977 NFL Draft, but later tried out for the Pittsburgh Steelers where he signed as a free agent and earned a spot as a safety. He adapted well to this position and ended up leading the team in interceptions during the Steelers’ 1078 Super-Bowl winning season.
The next year, he was traded to the San Francisco 49ers where he played one season before being traded again to the New York Giants. He survived preseason with the franchise before being cut prior to the regular season. Shortly following, he announced his retirement.
He coaching career started in 1980 with the University of Minnesota before heading to the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1981 where he became a 25-year-old assistant coach, making him the youngest assistant coach in NFL history. In 1984, he became the league’s youngest defensive coordinator. Following his time with the Steelers, Dungy spent three years (1989 to 1991) with the Kansas City Chiefs as a secondary coach and then was named the defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings from 1992-1995.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
His first head coaching position came in 1996 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team he took over had suffered 12 double-digit loss seasons in the previous 13 years before the change in leadership with Dungy. Dungy was a breath of fresh air to a team that lacked respectability and victories.
During his second season, the Bucs finished 10-6 and earned a playoff berth. Two seasons later, they posted an 11-5 record and won the franchise’s first divisional title since 1981. Dungy spent six seasons with Tampa Bay, including four trips to the playoffs, before being relieved of his duties.
Dungy was not out of work for long. After being dismissed by the Bucs, Dungy was hired as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, where he brought a new level of success the franchise had never experienced.
With the exception of the first season, the Colts had 12 or more wins in all of their seasons in Dungy’s seven-year reign. The Colts advanced to the playoffs every year under Dungy and claimed five divisional titles.
In 2006, Dungy led the Colts to an AFC South Division title and finished the season with a 38-34 win over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. They then defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, making Dungy the first African American head coach to ever win a Super Bowl.
Dungy retired after the 2008 season with a 148-79-0 record as NFL head coach, which includes a .668 winning percentage in the regular season (139-69-0). He was NFL Coach of Year in 1997 and 2005 and named to the 2000s All-Decade Team. His success can clearly be attributed to his impeccable leadership and the way he treated the members of his teams. As he puts it:
“The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better.”
Since his retirement, Dungy has worked as an analyst for NBC’s “Football Night in America.” He has also been active in several charitable causes including Big Brothers and Big Sisters and the Prison Crusade Ministry.
See Tony Dungy Be Enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
With an Official HOF Experiences ticket package, you can be there to see Tony Dungy put on his Gold Jacket, unveil his bust and be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Weekend is action-packed and some of the most fun you will ever have. Enjoy the Concert for Legends featuring Tim McGraw, join Hall of Famers at the Enshrinement Ceremony and witness the Colts and Packers go head-to-head at the NFL/Hall of Fame Game.
Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to celebrate Tony Dungy and the Class of 2016!