Dungy Retires After Seven Seasons as Colts Head Coach
INDIANAPOLIS – The winningest coaching era in Colts history ended Monday.
A memorable era off the field ended, too.
Tony Dungy, who coached the Colts to the playoffs the last seven seasons and to a victory in Super Bowl XLI following the 2006 season, announced his retirement from the Colts after seven seasons during a 5 p.m. press conference Monday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center.
Dungy, 53, is succeeded by Jim Caldwell, an assistant on the Colts' staff since Dungy's 2002 arrival who became the Associate Head Coach last January.
Dungy made his announcement at a press conference attended by – in addition to family and Colts employees – Colts Owner Jim Irsay and Colts President Bill Polian.
Dungy, known as much for his character off the field as for his team's successes on it, went 85-27 in seven regular seasons with the Colts, leading them to five consecutive AFC South titles from 2003-2007 and to AFC Wild Card appearances in 2002 and this past season.
Dungy's overall record with Indianapolis was 92-33.
Dungy, who also coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-2001, finished a 13-year NFL head coaching career with a regular-season record of 139-69 and a 148-79 postseason record.
Dungy, who took over as Colts Head Coach on January 22, 2002, made history in 2006, when he became the first African-American Head Coach to win a Super Bowl.
"That was very meaningful – the first African-American coach to win the Super Bowl," Colts middle linebacker Gary Brackett said recently. "Not only that, what I think was more imant, is he was a guy who does it the right way. So many coaches yell, scream and cuss at players.
"Here's a guy who did it the right way, encouraging players. He motivates them and for a long time they said it couldn't be done, winning a Super Bowl with a coach with that demeanor.
"He really proved that idea wrong."
Dungy that season also became the third person to coach a Super Bowl champion and play for a Super Bowl champion, having been a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers' 1978 Super Bowl champions. Tom Flores and Mike Ditka also won as players and head coaches.
Super Bowl aside, Dungy made history throughout his tenure with the Colts, with the franchise becoming the first in NFL history to win 12 or more games in six consecutive regular seasons (2003-2008) and the first to win 11 or more games in six consecutive regular seasons (2003-2008).
He won more games as Colts head coach than any other coach in franchise history, and finished his career 19th on the NFL's all-time victories list among coaches.
Dungy, who coached the Buccaneers to playoff appearances in 1997 and from 1998-2000, became the first coach since the 1970 Merger to coach a team to the playoffs in 10 consecutive seasons. He had shared the NFL record of nine with Hall of Fame Coach Tom Landry.
The five consecutive AFC South titles marked the longest streak of division titles in franchise history.
Dungy also left his mark in other areas.
Upon his hiring, he was the third African-American coach in NFL history, following Art Shell and Dennis Green. There are currently six African-American coaches in the NFL – Caldwell, Herm Edwards of the Kansas City Chiefs, Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals and Mike Singletary of the San Francisco 49ers.
Four of those six – Caldwell, Smith, Edwards and Tomlin – coached under Dungy.
Dungy also helped popularize the one-gap, Cover 2 style of defense that has become known in recent years as the Tampa 2, or "Dungy Defense," a scheme that has been employed by the Buccaneers, Colts and Bears – among other teams – in recent seasons.
He also has been active in the community in Indianapolis, beginning programs including Baskets of Hope, a national effort providing inspirational gifts to children with cancer.
In 2007, he was named to Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. He also has published two books, including Quiet Strength, which twice reached the No. 1 position on the hardcover nonfiction section of the New York Times' bestseller list.
Dungy contemplated retirement following the past three off-seasons, returning each time. Shortly after the Colts' loss to the San Diego Chargers in an AFC Wild Card Playoff game on January 3. Dungy said he planned to discuss his decision with his wife, Lauren, after which he planned to speak with Polian and Irsay.
He has said in the past the Colts will be his last coaching position.