Tony Dungy is about as cool, calm and collected as a person can get. And when it comes to his coaching style, it's exactly the same.
Fourteen years in the NFL spent as a defensive coordinator/coach and 13 years as a head coach earned Dungy a Super Bowl Championship with the Indianapolis Colts. He posted an overall record of 148-79 with the foundation that cursing and raising your voice wasn't necessary for success.
The culture and coaching style of the University of Maryland football team is now under a microscope with the on-going investigation regarding the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair. The university has taken responsibility for McNair's death after an ESPN article brought to light the abuse and "toxic culture" within the team, and what ultimately led up to McNair's passing under their supervision on May 29.
It has also brought into question how high-level football teams are coached and if it's all just a part of the football culture. On Thursday, Dungy weighed in on the matter on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington.
"Well first, I hope we don't just read into well, here was the culture, here's what the coach was doing so that's why this young man died," Dungy said.
Dungy recounted a scenario during his coaching career with the Colts where a player had an underlying condition that almost caused him to lose his life during a practice.
"You can't equate well, this happened because," Dungy went on to say.
What Dungy does want people to understand is that the tough love, scream-in-your-face type of coaching style is not the stereotype coaches must adhere to.
"But I do think we are a victim of caricatures. That we think that's the way it has to be."
"One of the last interviews I had before I got my head [coaching] job in Tampa, I was explaining to this owner how I was going to do things. He had heard about my reputation. He said 'I know you don't use profanity. You rarely raise your voice. How are you going to motivate these guys? How are you going to discipline? How are you going to keep guys in line?' And I said the same way my father kept me in line. By saying here's the rules and here's what we're going to do. I'm going to be like that with my players. And the guy looked at me square in the eyes and said 'impossible, that will never work in the NFL.'"
Well, it did work for Dungy as his tenure spent as a coach in the NFL earned him enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
Dungy noted in his interview with the Sports Junkies that the different personalities of coaches in the league highlighted in shows like HBO's Hard Knocks do not represent each and every coach. He mentions Jim Caldwell and Bill Belichick as successful coaches who are more mild-mannered like Dungy.
"And there's a thousand ways that work," Dungy said about coaching. "And you got to be true to your personality and everything. But the two coaches that I played for in the NFL – who won seven Super Bowls between them and were tremendous coaches, Hall of Famers – there was none of that. There was instruction, teaching, motivating, building you up and getting you ready to play, and so that's what I followed."
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