Tony Dungy Almost Quit Football – How A Man You've Never Heard Of Got Him Into The Hall Of Fame

Just as Dungy makes history tonight, so do those who supported him along the way.


No one goes into the Pro Football Hall of Fame alone. Just like football, it's a team victory.

For every gold jacket, for every bronze bust, for every enshrinee, there is a path. And along that path is a chain of people who helped show him the way.

"There's a ton of people that just speak into your life that way, that keep you going in the right direction. They're not recognized as people who had a big impact like Chuck Noll. But they had the same impact," says former Colts coach Tony Dungy.

For Dungy, one of those people was an administrator at Frost Junior High School in Jackson, Michigan.

"Leroy Rocquemore was my junior high assistant principal. And he just developed a care for all his students, but as a senior in high school, I quit the football team. And I hadn't seen Mr. Rocquemore in two or three years. He called me up and said, 'You need to come to my house. Word on the street is, you're not going to play. And tell me why.'"

Rocquemore talked him into returning. It's something he says he probably wouldn't have done on his own. And he doesn't know where he'd be now if he hadn't done it.

"I don't know what I'd be doing, but I know I wouldn't have been a football coach in the NFL if it weren't for a junior high assistant principal taking an interest in one of his students away from the school," he says.

David Baker, President and Executive Director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, says every guy who wears the gold jacket has a story like that.

"Obviously, Tony Dungy, he's historic as the first African American head coach to win a Super Bowl. But more importantly, one of the great things about enshrinement is that it's not just Tony Dungy when he's giving his speech. It's all those people that were part of his journey who are coming."

Just as Dungy makes history tonight, so do those who supported him along the way.

"If Tony Dungy doesn't come back because of the encouragement of that teacher, all the guys he touches along the way wouldn't be coming back to Canton with him."

Tonight, Leroy Rocquemore, you're in the Hall of Fame.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Limited Offer: Secure Your Super Hero Pack!

Limited Offer: Secure Your Super Hero Pack!

Get all 3 AFC South home matchups PLUS an exclusive "Blue" bobblehead, starting at $130!