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Book Review – Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy
Many people know Tony Dungy as the NFL head coach who took Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in 2007. You can also tell by watching him on television as an announcer and just by looking at his character that he is a good guy. But most of us don’t know about his upbringing and the people and what happened to him that made him the person he is today. Quiet Strength is a memoir written after Dungy’s big bowl success and one of the most impactful years in his life.
The book takes us through Tony’s life in chronological order, from his childhood and home life. Dungy had two straight, moral parents. He mentions in his book how they instilled a calm heart in him and distinguished between good and bad. Dungy always says that when he is upset or wants to meet someone, he should remember what his father used to tell him, and see if yelling can help anything and make things better. You can tell from the beginning of this book that Dungy is, and always has been, a family man.
As a teenager, Tony was an avid athlete. He played high school basketball and football. As a tall, thin, strong boy, he excelled at basketball and was actually the star of the football team. He was so good that he went on to play football at the University of Minnesota. Dungy played four solid years for the Golden Gophers and decided he had a chance to play in the NFL. For one thing, he didn’t have the typical build or college stats of an NFL quarterback and had to work his way up the ranks. He doubted that he would be drafted, and his doubts were right because he never received a call from the pros. However, the Steelers eventually took a chance on him and drafted him as a free agent to play in their cornerback.
Dungy made the most of his time in the Steelers organization. He felt good in Pittsburgh because his ownership was like a family to him and not just a boss. He made the team as 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 finished with a ring in his three seasons. Although he played pro football, he knew his days in the NFL were limited and he needed to think about what other career he could pursue after his playing days were over. As a smart young man with experience as a quarterback and defensive back, he had the unique opportunity to be a great coach.
Tony has worked as a coach for teams such as the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the NCAA, and the Pittsburg Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Minnesota Vikings in the NFL. Dungy knew all the right people on the teams he played for and encouraged him in his coaching career because of his hard work and character. His first head coaching job came after several years as a coordinator and assistant coach. The Glazers, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hired him as their head coach. The Glazers and Dungy had a good relationship throughout his career in Tampa Bay. They fully supported him with his straightforward ideas about running a complete football team. Dungy ended up bringing his team to the NFC Championship several years in a row, but never reached the big game. So the Glazers decided to release Coach Dungy. Not only was he fired, but so was his teacher. This is what bothered Tony the most; he had a feeling that he could find another job in the NFL, but he had a terrible time knowing his assistant coaches, chosen by Coach Dungy himself, would not have such a future.
Shortly after being fired from the Buccaneers organization and not knowing what God had in store 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 was the perfect fit for the head coaching job in Indianapolis. Tony and his new boss would build a football team as part of the community, not just to win games. Tony’s values of ethics, independence, and family-first for his football players would work well in Indianapolis.
Coach Dungy adopted a unique offense in Indianapolis, led by Peyton Manning. The defense needed work and confidence, but with Dungy’s help, he played quickly in a variety of ways. The team began making the playoffs every year where they often faced their rivals, the New England Patriots. The Patriots usually get the best of the Colts, but not in 2007. Dungy won almost every game of his season, 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 immediately knew he had to use his knowledge and fame to make the world a better place. Dungy knew that as a successful black man with an important position and a world championship to his name, he could make an impact.
Tony Dungy has always been a very busy man, working seven days a week, often with few hours of sleep. However, he always finds time to do charity work. These include church services, starting charities with his wife, Lauren, and running All Pro Dad. The organization focuses on making fathers around the world better men, and teaching these men to take care of their children. The concept is simple, yet very important. Imagine how many children in this world don’t know who their father is and don’t have a man in their life. All Pro Dads teach fathers and even men to be role models for the youth of the world.
Although Coach Dungy has shown himself to be a great and honorable man, it is what he does behind the scenes that makes him great; He puts his family first and always makes them his first priority. Not only do Tony and Laura have more children of their own, they’ve started adopting. Because they have great fortune in the world and are rich, they have made a better life for the black orphans. Anyone who has children knows that they can be a blessing, but sometimes it can be difficult. Many times in life children can bring incredible joy, but also times of sadness. Tony and Laura’s first child was adopted missing a critical gene that would allow him to feel pain. Since the child does not feel pain, the parents must keep a close eye on the child at all times to make sure that he is not doing anything that could inadvertently injure him.
Most of Coach Dungy’s books are inspirational and entertaining, but there is one part of this book that surprises the reader. During Dungy’s 2007 season, he got a phone call in the middle of the night. Everyone knows that calling in the middle of the night is never good, and this call was heartbreaking; Coach Dungy’s son, Jamie, had committed suicide. Dungy has repeatedly said that he will never know what caused Jamie to kill himself, but he does know that Jamie put God first in his life and is undoubtedly in Heaven now. It’s really sad to read about bad things happening to such famous people, but Dungy puts a positive spin on the story. They said Jamie blessed their lives for eighteen years and should be remembered for all the joy he brought. Jamie never had an enemy and made friends easily. From what Tony Dungy wrote about Jamie, it is clear that Jamie was a good man like his father.
After reading Coach Dungy’s memoir, one thing is clear: Coach Dungy lived his life for God. Life will take you through the highest moments and the lowest moments. The thing that makes us different and unique is how we deal with these situations. Dungy has learned to persevere through life’s tough times and to remain humble during competition. Tony Dungy is a great role model for everyone and we can all learn something from reading his book. This book is rated 5 out of 5.
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