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Book Review – Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy
Many people know Tony Dungy as the NFL head coach who led Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in 2007. You can also see him as an announcer on television and know that he is a decent guy. But many of us don’t know about his upbringing and the people and experiences that made him who he is today. Quiet Strength is a memoir that follows Dungy’s Super Bowl victory and one of the most impactful years of his life.
The book takes us through Tony’s life chronologically, starting with his childhood and home life. Dungy had two upright, moral parents. He mentions in his book how he instilled in them a sense of peace and a distinction between right and wrong. Dungy always says that when he’s frustrated or wants to confront someone, he should think back to what his father used to tell him and figure out if yelling would accomplish anything and actually make things better for him. You can tell from the beginning of the book that Dungy is and has always been a family man.
As a teenager, Tony was an outstanding athlete. He played varsity high school basketball and football. As a tall, slim, muscular youth, he excelled in basketball and was actually the quarterback of the football team. He was so good that he went on to play football at the University of Minnesota. Dungy played four years for the Golden Gophers and felt he had a good chance to play in the NFL. For one thing, though, he didn’t have the typical build or college stats of an NFL quarterback and would have to work his way up to a professional team the hard way. He was skeptical about being drafted, and his skepticism proved true when he never received a call from a pro team. However, the Steelers eventually took a chance on him and signed him as a free agent to play in the defensive backfield.
Dungy made the most of his time in the Steelers organization. He felt comfortable in Pittsburgh because ownership was more like family to him than just a boss. He made the team a defensive back because of his small size and won a Super Bowl in his short time there. Dungy was playing for the best team at the time and got a ring in one of his three years as a player. Although he played pro football, he knew his days in the NFL were limited and needed to consider another line of work after his playing days were over. As an intelligent young man with experience as both a quarterback and defensive back, he was in a unique position to be an outstanding coach.
Tony held several coaching jobs for teams such as the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the NCAA and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings in the NFL. Dungy was known by all the right people in the teams he played for and his hard work and character propelled his coaching career. His first head coaching job came after several years as coordinator and assistant coach. The Glazers, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hired him as head coach. The Glazers and Dungy had a good relationship in Tampa Bay throughout their careers. They fully supported him and his straight-forward ideas of running an entire football team. Dungy led his team to consecutive NFC championships, but never reached the biggest game. So the Glazers decided to release coach Dungy. Not only was he fired, so was his coaching staff. This is what bothered Tony the most; He had a feeling he could get another job in the NFL, but was devastated to learn that his assistant coach, Coach Dungy himself, might not have that future.
After being fired from the Buccaneers’ organization and not knowing what God had planned for him, Coach Dungy returned home one day to find a message from the owner of the Indianapolis Colts. The owner of the Colts told him that he had recently fired his coach, and knew that Tony would be a good fit for the head coaching job in Indianapolis. Tony and his new boss will develop a football team not just to win games but to be part of the community. Tony’s ideals of ethics, self-responsibility and family-first for his football players will serve well in Indianapolis.
Coach Dungy inherited an exceptional offense in Indianapolis, led by Peyton Manning. The defense needed work and confidence, but with Dungy’s help they were quickly playing on a completely different level. The team began making the playoffs every year where they usually faced their arch rival, the New England Patriots. The Patriots usually got the best of the Colts, but not in 2007. Dungy won almost all of his regular season games, beat everyone in the playoffs, and then destroyed the Chicago Bears in the NFL Super Bowl. Coach Dungy became the first African American head coach to win a Super Bowl and knew right away that he had to apply his knowledge and fame to make the world a better place. Dungy knew he could make an impact as a successful black man with such an important title and a world title to his name.
Tony Dungy has always been an extremely busy man, working seven days a week, usually sleeping only a few hours. However, he has always found time to do charitable work. This includes church work, starting a charity with wife Lauren and running All Pro Dad. This organization focuses on making fathers across the country better men and teaching these men to be there for their children. This concept is simple but very important. Imagine how many children in this world don’t know who their father is and how there are no men in their lives. All Pro Dad teaches fathers and even men to be role models for the world’s youth.
Coach Dungy has proven himself to be a great man and a great person, but what makes him truly great is what he does behind the scenes; He puts his family first and always puts them first. Not only do Tony and Laura have numerous children of their own, they have also begun adopting. Since they are in such a fortunate position in the world and financially well off, they have made a better life for the black orphans. Anyone who has children knows that they can be a blessing, but sometimes difficult. Children can often bring incredible joy in life, but also moments of sadness. The first child adopted by Tony and Laura is missing a critical gene that can cause him pain. Since the child cannot feel pain, parents should always keep an eye on the child to make sure that he is not doing something unknowingly.
Most of Coach Dungy’s book is uplifting and positive, but there is one part of the book that surprises the reader. During Dungy’s 2007 championship season, he got a call in the middle of the night. Everyone knows midnight calls are never good, and this call was heartbreaking; Coach Dungy’s son Jamie committed suicide. Dungy repeatedly states that he will never know what caused Jamie to take his own life, but he knows that Jamie put God first in his life and is now undoubtedly in heaven. It’s sad to read about terrible things happening to such great people, but Dungy put a positive spin on the situation. They said Jamie blessed their lives for eighteen years and should be remembered for all the joy he brought. Jamie never had enemies and made friends easily. It is very clear from what Tony Dungy wrote about Jamie that Jamie was as good a man as his father.
After reading Coach Dungy’s biography, one thing stands out: Coach Dungy lives his life for God. Life will take you to high moments and lows. What makes us all different and special is how we react to these situations. Dungy has learned to persevere through life’s tough spots and stay humble during championship-caliber moments. Tony Dungy is a role model for everyone and we can all learn a positive lesson from reading his book. This book is rated 5 out of 5.
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