Tony Dungy: A Man of Quiet Strength - part 3 (Transcript)

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Announcer: Today on Family Talk.

Roger Marsh: Well, welcome, everyone to this Friday edition of Family Talk, a ministry of the James Dobson Family Institute. I'm Roger Marsh filling in for Dr. Dobson today on this program, thanking you for listening to our daily broadcast across our expanding radio network. Dr. Dobson can now be heard in all 50 states across our 1,300 terrestrial affiliates. And in this year alone we've added 130 stations in the biggest cities across the country. To see where we are playing near you, be sure to use our helpful station finder feature. This feature can be found under the broadcast menu at Thanks so much for your continued support and your prayers for the Dobson Family Institute as well.

Roger Marsh: And now let's get to today's broadcast. In just a moment we're going to conclude Dr. Dobson's popular conversation with NFL Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy. Over the past couple of days, Dr. Dobson and Coach Dungy have discussed the coach's career and also his devotion to his Christian faith. Let's listen to a short clip of Coach Dungy talking about the purpose of his book, Quiet Strength.

James Dobson: Tell us about why you wrote that book.

Tony Dungy: I really wanted to write it for football fans who would be interested in the story of how you get to the Super Bowl, but to allow them to see that the Super Bowl isn't the most important thing. And that for me, my family was very important, my relationship with Christ was very important and that those things really took first place in my life, and that winning the Super Bowl was part of that, but certainly not the most important thing.

Roger Marsh: Wow. What a profound statement from a great man of God who truly stands behind his Christian beliefs. We should all strive to prioritize our faith and family above everything else in life the way Coach Dungy does. Well, today you're going to hear part three of this interview, which features Coach Dungy's Q&A session with the studio audience. He'll be answering questions about his coaching style, family life, and his decision to be an adoptive parent.

Roger Marsh: Now before we get started, let me tell you a little bit more about our guest. Tony Dungy is A Hall of Fame NFL coach, having coached both the Indianapolis Colts as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is also a New York times bestselling author writing over a dozen books. And Tony became the first African American coach to win a Super Bowl in 2007. He's involved in numerous outreach programs including the Fellowship Of Christian Athletes and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Coach Dungy currently serves as the national spokesman for the organization's Family First and also All Pro Dads.

Roger Marsh: He retired from coaching in 2009 and now works as an analyst on NBC's Football Night in America. Tony and his wife Lauren have been married for over 35 years and have 10 children. With that, let's get to the remainder of Dr. Dobson's classic interview with Coach Tony Dungy here on Family Talk.

Steve Waters: Hey, I'm Steve Waters here in the Springs and I remember back at Tampa Bay and then the first years at the Colts, there was all this pressure. "He just can't win the big one. He can't get there." And what was your perseverance attitude during that time?

Tony Dungy: I guess for me it was my motivation that my purpose wasn't to win the big one. Of course I wanted to and I felt we would, but if that was my whole purpose in life I would have been frustrated. But I really felt like I was doing my job, I was glorifying the Lord, I was helping my players become better men. So I never really worried about that. And it's funny. I've gone from that can't win the big one to now people think you're great, so all it takes is one win.

James Dobson: Yeah, and then you get smarter.

Tony Dungy: Yes, you get a lot smarter.

James Dobson: All of a sudden you're very smart.

Robin Madsen: Well greetings from Rochester, Minnesota.

Tony Dungy: Oh, all right, yes.

Robin Madsen: My name is Robin Madsen and I just wanted to make a remark. I wanted to say thank you very much. As a mother to seven children and a friend to two step children I know that one of the struggles that kids have nowadays is that they are looking to be rich. That's something that they desire very much nowadays. You are working with our children and you are showing them that that is not what they should be aspiring for. I thank you so much for your example to our children and to our nation. Thank you Tony.

Tony Dungy: Thank you very much. You said it better than I could.

James Dobson: Okay.

Jean Taylor: I'm Jean Taylor. This is one of my sons, Jacob and-

Tony Dungy: Yeah, you're dressed very well Jacob. I like that.

James Dobson: Jacob's got a Jersey on for the Colts.

Jean Taylor: Yep. His dad would have come too with his Jersey as well. But speaking for the Taylor family we want to also thank you, and we pray for you often because we as parents of athletes so appreciate your influence on our sons. One of the questions that we want to ask is just some words of wisdom and advice that you have to young athletes.

Tony Dungy: Very much so I would echo my college coach who said, "Hey. If you want to be the best you can be, you've got to be willing to outwork everybody else. That's how you make yourself special. But know that you've got to work just as hard in those other areas. Work just as hard academically," and I would add work just as hard spiritually. So if you can put those three together and know that that's what it takes, that's important. And work towards that goal and understand that being a professional athlete, it's a great goal to have, but it's not your purpose in life.

Jean Taylor: Thank you.

James Dobson: Tony, in the first program you talked about your dad a lot. I do hope that people who are listening now that didn't hear that first interview will go back and get a CD because there's so much there. But I saw a lot in what you said about your dad that resonates with me and my father, because he had such a great impact on me and was such a man of faith and prayer. I feel his presence here, and I don't know exactly what that means spiritually, but I somehow feel that his prayers are being worked out. Do you also feel that and did you feel it on Superbowl night?

Tony Dungy: Did I. I believe that with all my heart. Everything my dad poured into me and what he made me, I try to transmit that to everybody I'm around and I certainly feel it. That's why I've gotten so involved with Family First and All Pro Dad because I know firsthand the impact the dad can have on a son, and I feel like-

James Dobson: And on a daughter.

Tony Dungy: And on a daughter.

James Dobson: Yeah.

Tony Dungy: Absolutely. But I know firsthand what impact it can have on a son, and I feel like my players know my dad because of the fact that I'm coaching them. The things that I say to them are exactly what my dad told me, and probably the same thing for you. What's your listeners hear is what your dad told you.

James Dobson: Absolutely. And it is so important for parents to understand that and fathers especially to understand it. It is almost as important for girls to have a relationship with their fathers as it is for boys-

Tony Dungy: Even more so.

James Dobson: ... and in some ways more so.

Tony Dungy: Even more so because girls need to get that affirming love from their dad, and they also need to see what type of man that they want to marry, and you see that most often from your dad. I know for me, my wife reminds me so much of my mom because that's what I looked for and I know that's what hopefully my daughters will look for the same thing that they see in me from their husbands.

Tim Miller: Coach Dungy, I'm Tim Miller. I'm the father of two teenage girls, so I appreciate what you just said there. All the men obviously sitting in that studio have adopted children and could you just speak to what agency you went through and all that kind of stuff please?

Tony Dungy: Yeah. My wife was really the one that spearheaded this and she was so excited about it. I was excited, but not as much as she was. And then we went to an agency and we went through all the preliminary stuff, and the lady then said, "Do you have any questions?" And I said, "Well, how long will this process take?" And she told me, "If you're going to have an African American child or biracial you can get one tomorrow." And I was shocked. I figured there's waiting lists and all the things you hear about, but there is such a need out there. And that's what really grabbed me, and I think that's why we have done it three times now in the last six years because we felt like we could make our home a help to someone who really needed it.

James Dobson: There's no difference between those that are born-

Tony Dungy: Absolutely none. Absolutely none.

James Dobson: ... biologically and those that are adopted.

Tony Dungy: No. You become so close. And our one year old, he's been with us a year now, and he's the most special and probably the closest to me of all of our kids because that's the way the Lord made it.

James Dobson: There are tens of millions of children around the world that don't have families. And many of us have the opportunity to provide a loving home for them.

Tony Dungy: And I know that's some something that my wife and I thought about. We have spoken very much about being pro-life and saying that abortion is not the right way to go. Well if you encourage women to be pro-life and to not end these lives, then how can you not provide that place for children that need a home?

James Dobson: That's right.

Tony Dungy: I'll tell you what has been so rewarding and so special for us. I just can't even describe it. And again, I think that's one of the ways the Lord has used our family in showing people that it can be done, and it is done and how wonderful it can be.

James Dobson: And Lauren must be a special lady because she raised one family and now she's raising another one, so...

Tony Dungy: And I don't think she's ready to stop. We talk about more and I have visions. Well her parents actually have adopted two children, and her parents are in their eighties and have middle school kids. So she got it I think that way very honestly, and I can see myself that way too in my eighties with young kids.

James Dobson: Your family, speaking of siblings, are largely physicians, and dentists, and nurses in the medical field.

Tony Dungy: Yeah. Yeah, my dad was a physiology professor and our family loved that scientific aspect. My oldest sister is a nurse. I have a younger twin brother and sister. My brother's a dentist. My sister deals with high risk pregnancies, and they're phenomenal and very much better at what they do then than I am at what I do.

James Dobson: Well, your brother's a dentist. You've knocked a bunch of teeth out yourself through the years.

Tony Dungy: Yeah. I give him some business. I send some business to him every now and then.

James Dobson: Next question.

Ron White: Hi, Coach Dungy. I'm Ron White. I'm in confession, I'm a charger fan. But you make it very hard not to root for the Colts, so thank you.

Tony Dungy: Well thank you.

Ron White: How can we pray for you? How can we hold you up?

Tony Dungy: You know the best way, and I wished on the show we'd had been able to thank all the people, we-

James Dobson: You are on the show.

Tony Dungy: Oh, okay. But we get players from all over and it makes such a difference. And I think the thing for me is the fact that I have said that I'm a Christian, and we'll get in circumstances where I think Satan will try to take us down and ruin my witness. And so just pray that I would continue to live the right way and continue to be a great example. If you would do that, that would be outstanding.

James Dobson: Thank you so much for that question. I said at the end of the first broadcast that I was going to ask you how we could pray for you and I just flat out forgot it, and maybe the Lord had it in mind for the third. Okay. And a young man, tells us your name and how old you are.

Isaac Kinson: Hi, I'm Isaac Kinson. I live here in Colorado Springs. Does your team-

James Dobson: Tell us how old you are.

Isaac Kinson: 10.

James Dobson: Are you a football fan?

Isaac Kinson: Yes.

James Dobson: Okay. Give us your question.

Isaac Kinson: Does your team reflect on you more of a spiritual leader than a football leader?

Tony Dungy: That's a good question, Isaac. I would hope that they see both. I want them to see how I'm going to lead the team on the field, but I want them to follow in my footsteps too. Off the field I want them to follow in my footsteps spiritually. And I don't demand that. I don't tell people, "Hey. You have to be a Christian to be on our team." But I try to show them the way I live and I hope that rubs off on them.

James Dobson: Okay. Next question.

Jeanie McMains: Good morning, Coach Dungy. I'm Jeanie McMains born and raised Hoosier, and I just wanted to learn more about All Pro Dads and the programming, because I have a lot of family back there at Indiana and I hear great things about it, but not quite sure how the program... It's not just for professional football players.

Tony Dungy: No, it's absolutely not. It's for any father. And what we try to really emphasize is one minute a day, one hour a month, and one day a year. And we have this program, it's called The Play of the Day, which takes one minute to read. You can get that emailed to you through All Pro Dad. And then we try to set up a father and kids day breakfast one hour a month during the year, and that's been going awesome. We're getting those coming up all over where dads will go to school or go somewhere and have breakfast with their kids before school and talk about what's going on in their life. And then one day a year we have a father and son kids experience, or father and kids experience at the complexes in NFL cities. And so there's different ways you can get involved. But the biggest thing is just getting these Plays of the Day on and it'll give you wonderful tips on just different ways to use five minutes to connect better with your kids that day.

Jeanie McMains: Thank you.

Port Smith: Hi, Coach Dungy. My name is Port Smith. I'm from Michigan. Often when I'm watching NFL games I see the coaches on the sidelines yelling and berating their players, and then I'll watch you as a coach and your demeanor is calm and level headed. I wonder how you can be so successful as a coach without yelling at your players all the time.

Tony Dungy: I think we have this caricature of coaches and that's what you had to do. As I said, both my parents were teachers and I thought they were great communicators, and I never once heard them say, "I went into class today, and I screamed as loud as I could, and I yelled at those people to get them to learn." I never heard that. And so I try to use that as my style that I'm trying to get information to my players. I'm trying to help them. And most of the time that's going to come in a situation where they can relax and hear it, and not where they're uptight because I'm yelling at them.

James Dobson: Well, what do you do when you have disciplinary problems with your team?

Tony Dungy: You know, I tell my guys right away that we're going to have a talk just like we're talking now. You'll know when I'm upset. I'm going to tell you just this way and if you need more than that, if you need me to yell and scream at you to get you to follow the rules, we probably ought to trade you to a different team where you're going to have better success, because I'm not going to lose my voice like that.

James Dobson: That is so impressive.

Tony Dungy: And most guys, you know what? They respond to that. "Hey coach. Tell me what to do." Here's our rules. They understand the rules and they know that, hey coach has this much care about me, then I'm not going to break the rules.

James Dobson: You can tell the temperament of a coach by watching on the sidelines, by the profanity that you can read on the lips and by the anger when somebody makes a mistake. And I've never seen that coming from you.

Tony Dungy: Well, I had a great teacher. Coach Noll, when I went there as we mentioned in the other program, I switched from offense to defense and I didn't know a lot about what I was doing, especially early. And I'd come off after making a mistake that might have ,really cost our team, and he would say, "What was your thought process? What were you looking at? What were you seeing?" Trying to help me and not just jump down my throat. And it stuck with me and I said that's the way I want to coach, and that's the way I would want my son to be coached.

James Dobson: Next question.

James Odum: I'm James Odum, and I'm from Colorado Springs and I was in Indianapolis for 12 before that, so I'm a big, big Colts fan.

Tony Dungy: All right. A Colts fan.

James Odum: I just feel excited. You know, you say that there's more important things than just the football and you've been there now for several years and we can see you've made great improvements on the football field. But how's the improvements with respect to the team? I mean, do you feel like they're growing in the things that you're talking about that are more important, are improving and growing with those men?

Tony Dungy: I think we really are. I'm proud of our team. We've got so much going on in the organization. We've got several players that volunteer their interns in the Indianapolis public schools. They are either assistant coaches in the off season, or they're tutors and have tremendous relationships with some of the high school kids there. We've got guys who have foundations who are doing things that don't get publicized. You hear about the incident with this person or that person, the DWI, but you don't hear about the hundreds of great things that they're doing. And I'm really, really proud of our guys. What I tell them when we start our first meeting is, "I've got a teenage son that looks at everything you guys do. You're making a statement every day and I want you guys to be great role models," and we have that. I'm very proud of our guys.

James Odum: Good accountability. Thanks Coach.

James Dobson: Coach, you had a very good team year before last, and many people thought that you might win the Superbowl and you didn't. What was the difference between that team and the one that did win?

Tony Dungy: This team, the 2006 team that won the Superbowl was not our most talented team at all, but it was our most resilient and our team that had the most chemistry and comradery. We have a very close team. I think the adversities we had the couple of previous years really helped us become close, and so when we had tough games and tough times, we stuck together a little bit better. And in this championship game this past year, we were down 21-3 to new England and the team didn't fold. Everybody just kept saying, "You know what? We've been through tough times and this is our time." And we stuck together.

James Dobson: Is cohesion really all that important when you compare it to skill and talent?

Tony Dungy: It really is Dr. Dobson. In the NFL the talent level from the top team to the bottom is maybe 5% different. But it's that chemistry. It's playing together. It's overcoming adversity. And when you do have a problem that comes up, when you have something you have to overcome, do you have that desire and that ability to stick together and see your way through?

James Dobson: Okay.

Esther: Hi, Coach Dungy. Thank you for being here. My name is Esther and in 2006 I had the opportunity to attend a Superbowl prayer breakfast in Detroit, Michigan. When you shared your testimony there was not a dry eye in the place. Thank you for that.

Tony Dungy: Thank you.

Esther: And I know that you did mention at the end that you'd hope to be at the next year's prayer breakfast and the main reason why was so that you could win the Superbowl, but also have your teammates, have the team attend the prayer breakfast. So I just wanted to see what the 2007 Superbowl prayer breakfast looked like this year.

Tony Dungy: Do you know what? That was a big thrill. As I had mentioned, I'd been to probably 10 of those prayer breakfasts as a guest participant, and it had always been my goal to bring the team if we got there. So I set up the schedule and moved our practice back so we could go and we had several guys there that talked live. Usually the team that's in the Superbowl, they have their guys on tape. But we had our guys there live and it was quite a thrill.

Esther: Awesome. Thank you.

James Dobson: The last question.

Doug Otto: Doug Otto from Colorado Springs. Coach, as much as we appreciate your testimony and the stand you take, I know there are others who don't. What price have you had to pay for standing up for what you do?

Tony Dungy: I haven't had to pay a big price. I think I didn't get a few jobs early on because of what I believed and the way I was going to coach. Now that I've had some success, I think that's not such a big issue anymore. And I've had some people that have written me some letters that don't feel like I should use my position as a coach to further my religious beliefs and I understand that. But I'd write them back very respectful and say, "That's just the way I am. I can't separate that out." So I've had a little bit, but I found that the more you win, the less persecution you get.

James Dobson: Coach Tony Dungy, the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, a follower of Jesus Christ, a good man, a man of character and now a good friend. And I am really delighted to get acquainted with you. I'm especially honored that you used to listen to us and I'm bothered that you don't anymore, but-

Tony Dungy: Well, I'm going to have to start with these young kids coming back up. I'm going to have to find that station again. Thank you.

James Dobson: You have also done some work with my wife and the National Day of Prayer, and she is deeply appreciative of that and would want me to tell you thanks for your generosity with your time, which you have very little of.

Tony Dungy: Well thank you. That was a tremendous honor, and doing a PSA actually for the National Day of Prayer was an awesome, awesome experience.

James Dobson: Give a hug to Lauren for us. We don't know her yet, but want to meet her one of these days.

Tony Dungy: I will do that.

James Dobson: All right.

Tony Dungy: Thank you for having me on the show Dr. Dobson.

James Dobson: All right, and we'll have you again after the next Superbowl.

Tony Dungy: I like that.

James Dobson: Okay.

Roger Marsh: Well this is Roger Marsh again and I pray that you've been blessed by this three day broadcast. Dr Dobson's guest here on Family Talk has Hall of Fame football coach Tony Dungy. Go to today's broadcast page at for further details about everything we've discussed on these past three programs. We have information about the organizations Tony Dungy is involved with, and also links to a few of his popular books as well. Get plugged in with what Coach Tony Dungy is doing when you visit our broadcast page at

Roger Marsh: As we close, I want to remind you to sign up now for Dr. Dobson's valuable newsletter. Every month Dr. Dobson writes his personal thoughts on issues facing the institution of the family. It's an informative letter that we want you to have and without any further financial obligation. Simply call (877) 732-6825 and a member of our staff will be happy to put you on our mailing list for that publication. Again, that toll free number is (877) 732-6825. Thanks for listening to our broadcast this week. Be sure to join us again next time for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. Have a blessed weekend.

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