Saturday, June 09, 2007

Tony Dungy: A Good Role Model

"Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed" (Psalm 112:1-2, NASB).

Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy has turned me into a Colts fan. I heard him interviewed on the radio program FamilyLife Today a few years ago, and I have admired his work and life ever since. He comes across as a sincere, godly, and solid family man.

About a year and a half ago, he and his family suffered an unimaginable tragedy when his oldest son committed suicide. During the emotional turmoil, his inner strength (which is based on his faith in Christ) helped him to lead the rest of his family through those difficult days. I heard a recording of Coach Dungy addressing a prayer breakfast before the Super Bowl just a few weeks later, in which he talked about what he had learned from his children. It was a very moving speech, revealing a very caring father who was dealing with very difficult circumstances.

Last season, he became the first black head coach to lead his team to a victory in the Super Bowl.

Recently, I became a subscriber to World Magazine, a weekly news magazine that seeks to approach current events from a biblical worldview. In this week's issue, the magazine contains an excellent article about Tony Dungy (see I would like to share a few quotes.

"Dungy used the big national platform to draw attention to his faith, even as he was being heralded as the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl. He didn't run from the racial side of the story, but he was quick to draw attention to the fact that he and Bears coach Lovie Smith were not only African-Americans but also Christians who sought to live out their faith in football."

"Yet he'll use his influence for faith-based causes. He avoids commercial endorsements to keep a focus on his family message. He and his wife Lauren have quietly adopted children to blend with their birth children. He was scolded after the Super Bowl by advocates of same-sex marriage for accepting a fatherhood award from the Indiana Family Institute, which was supporting a marriage amendment. He came back with a ringing endorsement of the amendment and family values."

"Those close to the coach attest that his faith helps him not only with fatherhood but also with coaching. 'The inspiring thing about Tony Dungy's story is that good guys do finish first,' says Colts owner (Jim) Irsay. 'You do not have to compromise your core values to win and to be competitive.' Irsay sees Dungy as humble and quiet, yet not weak. 'A humble person can be strong and disciplined and tough and all those things you need to be,' Irsay said."

I understand that Coach Dungy's autobiography is scheduled to be available sometime this summer. I plan on reading and reviewing it on my blog.

You may not be able to read the entire story online without subscribing to World Magazine. A subscription is worth the price, though. It is an outstanding magazine.

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