Editor’s note: This article was one of the stories this week in BlackAmericaWeb.com’s “Little Known Black History Facts’’ series.
Tony Dungy, one of the NFL’s class acts, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last weekend making him the first African-American coach to achieve the honor.
He already has etched his name in the history annals by becoming the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl in the NFL.
Dungy, who turns 61 this October, is a native of Jackson, Mich.
In his college playing days, he starred at the University of Minnesota at the quarterback position.
Player, then coach
Undrafted by the NFL in 1977, Dungy played safety and special teams for the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, ending his career with the New York Giants.
Dungy’s first foray as a coach began in Pittsburgh with the team’s defensive backs corps in 1981. He was later promoted to defensive coordinator before leaving the team in 1989 to become the Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive backs coach.
After several seasons of displaying his defensive wizardry as coach and coordinator, he was given a chance to right the fortunes of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The team was woeful at the time, but Dungy is given credit for turning the franchise into a winning one.
In 2002, Dungy was named the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts but struggled early on.
Eventually, Dungy’s Colts vindicated their coach by winning Super Bowl 41 in 2007 with Peyton Manning who won the game’s MVP trophy.
Dungy, who also works as a television analyst, is best known for his soft-spoken demeanor and as a man of strong Christian faith. He has worked in prison ministry and has established mentoring programs.
Dungy and his wife, Lauren, have seven children together. Sadly, Dungy’s 18-year old son, James committed suicide in 2006.