Who is Tony Dungy, the NFL Hall of Fame Coach Speaking at the March for Life?| National Catholic Register
Tony Dungy is a man who wears many hats: football coach, father of 11, NFL analyst, adoptive father, New York Times bestselling author and Pro Football Hall of Famer, among others.
But the title that the former star athlete and Super Bowl champion places before any other is “Christian.”
When asked about his 13 years of experience as a head coach at the highest level of football, Dungy often makes it clear that his faith in Christ has been the main driving force in his life both off and on the pitch.
He made that particularly clear when he talked about when he prepared a speech after his team won Super Bowl XLI.
“I just said I had to let people know my motivation, and that was to be a Christian coach,” he recalled on his YouTube show Beyond the Game.
Dungy will speak at the 2023 March for Life on Friday, the first March for Life since Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
This will be Dungy’s first participation in the march, which celebrates its 50th anniversary. Here are seven things to know about the first African-American head coach to win an NFL Super Bowl.
Father of 11 children including 8 adopted
Dungy and his wife, Lauren, became adoptive parents around the year 2000 during his head coaching gig with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He and his wife were inspired after Dungy made a public service announcement highlighting the need for African-American adoptive parents, The Oklahoman reported in June 2021.
When Lauren Dungy suggested taking the announcement one step further, the two adopted a baby boy two months later, the outlet reported.
The outlet reported that the couple had adopted eight children in total over the past two decades. They are parents of 11 children. The Dungys lost a child to suicide in 2005, and the former coach is open about how his faith in Christ got him through such a difficult time.
Dungy’s 11 children and three foster children
On the Today Show in August 2022, the couple talked about their recently released book, Uncommon Influence: Saying Yes to a Purposeful Life, in which they write about being adoptive parents.
Lauren Dungy said on the show that “we’ve had over 100 kids come through our door,” adding that “we’re currently raising three” foster children.
Baptist News Global published an excerpt from the book: “We have been married for 40 years. We have 11 children and three foster children. So there’s a lot on our plate,” Lauren Dungy wrote. “It’s a lot to unpack, but we wanted to let everyone know that they can live a life and a marriage with purpose for the Lord.”
First African-American NFL coach to win a Super Bowl
In 2007, Tony Dungy took the Indianapolis Colts to Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears. The game was Dungy’s first Super Bowl appearance as a head coach and featured quarterback and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning as the Colts’ head of offense.
On the first play of the game, Bears dead kick return Devin Hester brought home the opening kickoff for a 92-yard touchdown. The stadium erupted and the Colts seemed to know they were in the danger zone.
But it will be the Colts who have the last laugh, as Dungy’s team will end up counterattacking multiple times to win the game 29-17.
During the trophy presentation after the game, Dungy said he was “proud” to be the first African-American coach to win the Super Bowl, according to the AP.
“But again, more than anything, Lovie Smith [the Bears’ head coach] and I’m not only African American coaches but also Christians, which shows you can do it the Lord’s way. We are more proud of it.
Dungy’s postgame Super Bowl speech, where he gives credit for Jesus Christ, can be seen below.
Appeal to Senator Raphael Warnock, a “pro-choice pastor”
Dungy took aim at Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock of Georgia in early 2022 for comments the senator made to promote abortion in the name of Jesus Christ.
Warnock is the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church of Atlanta, which describes itself as “an urban global ministry dedicated to individual growth and social transformation by living the message and fulfilling the mission of Jesus Christ.”
Warnock, who was recently re-elected in 2022, tweeted on May 2, 2022:
As a pro-choice pastor, I’ve always believed that a patient’s room is far too small for a woman, her doctor, and the United States government.
I will always fight to protect a woman’s right to choose. And that will never change.
— Reverend Raphael Warnock (@ReverendWarnock) May 3, 2022
The tweet sparked controversy and Dungy weighed in:
It all boils down to what you think of the organism developing inside the mother. Is it a life or not? If it’s just growing tissue, your “choice” makes sense. If it is a life, obviously it is not acceptable to choose to end it. What does your Bible tell you it is? Psalm 139:16 https://t.co/E7dCk6NMmL
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) May 3, 2022
Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes have seen me formless; in your book everything is written; my days were fashioned, before there was one.
A Christian education
Dungy often credits her Christian faith to her solid upbringing by two loving parents, Wilbur and Cleomae Dungy.
“My dad always preached to us to set our goals high and not complain about negative circumstances. Just look for a way to make things better. My mother taught us as a Christian, your character, your integrity and the way you honor God was so much more important than your job title,” Dungy said in his 2016 speech after being inducted into the Hall of Fame. professional soccer.
“One of his favorite Bible verses was Matthew 16:26 – ‘What good would it be for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul.’ And I know she is happy to know that her son never forgot that verse,” he said.
Hall of Fame induction
Dungy had an impressive career as a head coach, making four appearances in championship games, two of which he won, one of which was the Super Bowl.
Dungy has had its share of losses in big games. As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach in the 1999 NFC Championship Game, Dungy’s team lost 11-6. His Colts lost to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game 24-14.
However, in 2006 the Dungy Colts would see the Patriots again in the same game and stunningly win 38-34, leading them to the Super Bowl against the Bears.
Dungy was named NFL Coach of the Year in 1997 while coaching the Buccaneers and again in 2005 with the Colts. He was also named to the NFL All-Decade Team of the 2000s. He had only one losing season in his 13 years as head coach.
Upon his induction into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame in 2016, Dungy said, “The Lord has truly led me on a wonderful journey through 31 years in the NFL, through temporary disappointments to incredible joys. I cherish every relationship I have been able to establish over these 31 years, and I will always be grateful to the National Football League for giving me my life’s work.
Dungy was a player for the Pittsburgh Steelers who won Super Bowl XIII
After a successful college career as a quarterback at the University of Minnesota, Dungy played for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dungy made a tackle during the intense 1979 Super Bowl XIII game between the Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys in Miami, according to Pro Football Reference. Nearly 80,000 people were in attendance to watch the Steelers beat the Cowboys 35-31. A highlight of the game can be seen here.
Dungy would later become an assistant coach for the Steelers, beginning his stellar coaching career.