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The time I hung out with Tony Dungy

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5ksandcabernets: The time I hung out with Tony Dungy


Monday, January 12, 2009

The time I hung out with Tony Dungy

I've written in other posts about my former life as a sports writer and the retirement of Colts coach Tony Dungy made me sad, but brought back a pleasant memory of the time I met him.

In 1997, when I was working in the sports department of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the editors sent me to Tampa Bay to do a feature on the Buccaneers, who were having their best season in quite some time. Dungy was in his second or third year as the Bucs head coach and was the primary reason the Bucs had turned things around.
I fly into town after setting up interviews with coaches and players through the Bucs PR department. I remember interviewing Warren Sapp, Warrick Dunn, Rich McKay who was the Bucs general manager, and some others. Finally, it was time to interview Dungy. Back then, the media worked out of these portables adjacent to the Bucs practice field. The PR person (can't remember his name) said he'd go tell Dungy I was ready to interview him. I remember thinking that I'd probably be summoned to his office. So I got my tape recorder ready and my notebook with the questions I wanted to ask.

The door opens. I hear somebody say, "Is he in here?" It was Dungy's voice. He left his office to sit with me in the dingy, dank, cramped media portable. "What a nice guy," I thought. To be honest, 11 years later, I don't remember a single question I asked him, but I do remember his demeanor. Calm. Cool. Classy. Gracious. He answered every question. And when I was done, I do remember him saying, "You sure you got everything you needed?"

Most guys I've interviewed are in a rush to be finished and give you half answers. That wasn't Dungy's attitude.

He will be missed.



Blogger conanima said...

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January 12, 2009 at 11:40 PM  
Blogger Derek said...

It's good to know that there are some class acts in professional sports. It seems like only the bad and negative stuff makes the news. Thanks for your insight.

January 13, 2009 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Burger said...

Tony Dungy is one of the classiest guys in the NFL...the drop from him to the next guy is a steep drop-off. I couldn't have been more heartbroken for a father when I heard about his son. I couldn't have been happier for a coach than when he finally got his Super Bowl victory.

He and his team should have finished out on top but alas, it is what it is. He'll still go out a winner in my book.

January 13, 2009 at 1:23 AM  
Blogger Just12Finish said...

The world (esp. the professional sports world) needs more good guys like Dungy.

January 25, 2009 at 6:11 PM  

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