View Full Version : NYT Article - Dungy Builds Coaching Tree

Atlanta Dan
11-04-2007, 03:05 PM
New York Times has a good article on how Tony Dungy has diversified the NFL coaching fraternity, which includes these 2 nuggets:

In the early 1980s, 20-something football coaches were rare, 20-something black coaches rarer still. That was the N.F.L. landscape when the Pittsburgh Steelers made 25-year-old Tony Dungy the youngest assistant in league history.

At the time, in 1981, Dungy received one piece of advice: to succeed in the conservative N.F.L., his beard had to go. But before he picked up a razor, he walked down the hall to the owner?s office.

?Dan Rooney said, ?No, here at the Steelers we want people to be themselves,?? Dungy said. ?It was a simple statement, but I never forgot it.? ... and

Noll once told Dungy that he did not want a staff of people just like himself because an array of personalities could reach the distinct groups in the locker room. So once Dungy hired his disparate staff, he told his assistants what to teach, then allowed each to develop his own coaching style, even when the Buccaneers struggled early in his tenure.

?He?s got great patience, he never panics,? Marinelli said. ?He believes in slow progress.?

The hands-off approach is often overlooked in an industry that exalts the head coach as sleepless micromanager. But Dungy?s style has fostered a magnetic bond with his former assistants. They talk almost weekly, usually about their families.

Inevitably, Dungy?s methods trickle down. When Tomlin was a defensive coordinator, he used the Cover 2 defense. When he got to Pittsburgh, Tomlin left the longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau in place and allowed him to use the 3-4 defense, a Steelers hallmark.

?Without question, the unwavering belief in people you work with is what I took from him,? Tomlin said. ?I was a 28-year-old secondary coach. Tony was a secondary coach by trade, and he never came in my room. Going into it, I assumed I?d be spending a lot of time with the coach standing over my shoulder. He said, ?Mike, do your thing.? It worked in a unique way. I was driven to not let him down.?


This article provides yet another example of why to root for the Colts and against Belicheat today.