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The Quiet Leader
Nunyo Demasio
February 13, 2007
WITH HIS SUPER BOWL VICTORY, TONY DUNGY HAS JOINED THE RANKS OF THE NFL'S GREATEST COACHES--AND HE HAS DONE IT SLOWLY, SURELY AND ON HIS OWN TERMS
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February 13, 2007

The Quiet Leader

WITH HIS SUPER BOWL VICTORY, TONY DUNGY HAS JOINED THE RANKS OF THE NFL'S GREATEST COACHES--AND HE HAS DONE IT SLOWLY, SURELY AND ON HIS OWN TERMS

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During one job interview Dungy was asked for the racial breakdown of his prospective staff. Another time, a G.M. insisted that Dungy shave his beard. Perhaps his most telling experience was in January 1988, when Dungy was among 15 candidates interviewed by Green Bay. Dungy detected that he was a token after the organization revealed that it sought an offensive-minded person--with head-coaching experience.

When Dungy was a Vikings defensive coordinator in the 1990s, the knock was that he didn't interview well. Dungy's candor certainly didn't help. The coach would reveal that he planned to occasionally drive his kids to school instead of being at work early. When one owner asked if the job would be the most important thing in his life, Dungy said no. "I didn't think I was going to get that job," he says, laughing. "And I didn't."

Even when Dungy landed the Tampa Bay job, it reportedly came after Jimmy Johnson and Steve Spurrier declined. But Dungy was the ideal coach for a franchise that had suffered 13 straight losing seasons. The Bucs made the playoffs in four of six seasons after he redesigned the Cover Two to make it more effective, calling it the Tampa Two.

Dungy's staff in Tampa included Smith, Herman Edwards ( Kansas City's head coach), Rod Marinelli ( Detroit) and Mike Tomlin ( Pittsburgh). They are all versed in the Tampa Two. But Dungy's coaching tree goes beyond X's and O's. And his disciples have adopted his vision.

"To have that resonate," Dungy says, "that you can be good, that you can win, that you can be successful, and you don't have to live and die and eat and sleep football, I'm proud of that, too."

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