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C-Mac
01-31-2007, 03:04 PM
RAND: Dungy breaks another stereotype
Jan 30, 2007, 3:53:22 AM by Jonathan Rand - FAQ


Just about anybody who ran across Tony Dungy when he was the Chiefs’ secondary coach from 1989-91 – or any time before or since, for that matter — has to be delighted to see him coaching the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl.

That’s because Dungy is such an incredibly decent, unpretentious and straightforward person. Most coaches try to spend off-season time with their families to try and make up for all the late nights and missed meals during the season. Dungy, though, was having lunch with his wife and kids at the league meetings one year instead of joining his fellow head coaches for their annual golf outing.

He’s got a good sense of humor, too. He was listening to coach Marty Schottenheimer after a Thanksgiving Day practice in 1990 announcing that all rookies could get a free turkey at their local grocery store. This was, of course, a prank. Veterans would wait at the store with cameras and smirks for the rookies to show up.

When I asked Dungy if he thought a head coach should be promoting such silliness, he replied, “I wouldn’t want to be the guy at the Price Chopper who tells Percy Snow he can’t have a turkey.” Snow, a first-round draft choice, would later use a pistol to confront a golfer who hit an errant shot into Snow’s yard, which adjoined the course.

It’s also great to see Dungy coaching the AFC champions because he’s such a stereotype-breaker, and not just because he and his former assistant, Lovie Smith, are the first African-American head coaches to reach the Super Bowl. Dungy is a bright, understated coach thriving in a job that many believe is best filled by big, beefy guys who scream and intimidate. Guys like Mike Ditka and just-retired Bill Parcells.

People who believe this are clueless about what it takes to be a head coach. First and foremost, you have to be a leader of coaches and players. You have to hire the right assistants and be an expert at evaluating talent.

You should be a skilled technician on offense or defense and have a good concept of what kind of overall team you want. You need to give your players an atmosphere and practice regimen that shows them how to prepare to win in the NFL.

You need to put your players in situations that give them the best chance for success. Because coaching is quickly forgotten by players under the game-day pressures, you need to remind, remind, remind and remind some more. And you need to be a skilled game-day tactician who doesn’t blow games through poor decisions.

If a coach touches all those bases, his personality doesn’t really matter all that much. Parcells may have led and coached through intimidation but if he didn’t win a lot of games, his players would’ve stopped following him long ago.

An intimidating style worked for Parcells partly because that reflected his true personality. Coaches who try to affect a personality will be spotted as phonies in short order and will provoke more sneers than fears from their players.

Chiefs coach Herm Edwards is probably halfway between Parcells and Dungy on the dictatorship scale. Son of a career soldier, he’s a stickler for discipline and professional conduct. He encourages good hits and discourages bad language.

If Edwards intimidates players, it’s by letting them know that if they don’t give him smart, tough and consistent performances, they’ll be gone. Treating anyone abusively is not his style. He’d rather pick somebody up than put somebody down. He saves his rants for when they’re needed, not because he likes to hear himself scream.

When Dungy was fired in Tampa Bay, despite his team’s consistent playoff appearances, there were suggestions that he lacked the fire to push the Buccaneers over the top. Now that his Colts have reached the Super Bowl, we’ll keep hearing and reading that his low-key style is just what his players appreciate.

In other words, what once was the reason he lost big games is now the reason he’s reached the biggest game. That’s business as usual in the business of coaching.

CoMoChief
01-31-2007, 03:06 PM
When I asked Dungy if he thought a head coach should be promoting such silliness, he replied, “I wouldn’t want to be the guy at the Price Chopper who tells Percy Snow he can’t have a turkey.” Snow, a first-round draft choice, would later use a pistol to confront a golfer who hit an errant shot into Snow’s yard, which adjoined the course.


Jesus Christ I dont remember that. I was only in Kindergarten at the time though.