BEFORE Tony Dungy
was interviewed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' head-coaching job in January
1996, a screw from his eyeglasses fell out and was lost. It left him without
use of the left sidepiece, which hooked over his ear. ? Dungy didn't intend to
wear the spectacles when he went to meet general manager Rick McKay at his
Santa Clara Marriott suite. But at the start of the interview, because his
eyesight is so poor, Dungy put on the busted glasses to avoid squinting.
spectacles were askew--the nosepiece was diagonal, instead of on the bridge of
Dungy's nose. The coach appeared to be oblivious, locking eyes with his
interviewer. But roughly 30 minutes into the session, McKay stopped Dungy
have to take those glasses off," McKay implored. "They are driving me
doesn't fit the profile of an NFL head coach. He is a genteel fellow with a
strong faith and is unapologetic about football's being secondary in his life.
The 51-year-old has never adhered to conventional coach-think. So having his
glasses askew during a make-or-break interview certainly didn't make him, well,
typical Tony," McKay--now Atlanta's general manager--recalls, laughing.
"He wasn't worried about how he appeared. He was just going to tell you how
was affirmed on Feb. 4 at Dolphin Stadium with Indy's victory over Chicago in
Super Bowl XLI. Dungy and his former Tampa assistant, Lovie Smith, were the
first black coaches to reach the championship game in 87 NFL seasons.
By guiding the
Colts to their first Super Bowl since 1971, Dungy has refuted the notion that
his mild-mannered approach doesn't win championships. Instead, the victory
enhances Dungy's place among coaching giants. This season Dungy supplanted Hall
of Fame coach Joe Gibbs for the best record among active coaches: 114--62.
Overall, Dungy's .648 winning percentage is surpassed only by those of John
Madden, Vince Lombardi, George Allen, George Halas and Don Shula. In 11 NFL
seasons (six in Tampa, five in Indianapolis) Dungy's teams have made the
playoffs nine times, including eight straight. The only coach with a longer
streak is Tom Landry at nine.
During his Tampa
tenure (1996--2001) Dungy engineered one of the most remarkable turnarounds in
NFL history while revolutionizing the Cover Two defense before it became all
the rage. He has also made an impact by nurturing a blue-chip coaching tree
that has substantially boosted the NFL's number of black head coaches. Dungy
and his former assistants account for four of the league's six black
Yet one of
Dungy's most impressive accomplishments simply has been winning without
amending his contrarian ways. Dungy is the opposite of the irascible,
militaristic coach who has no life while overseeing a clandestine operation. He
is outspoken about social issues; he's heavily involved in charities,
particularly Christian groups.
thought about changing, never felt the need to change," says Dungy, who
once considered quitting to work in prison ministry. "I knew we could win