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Book Review – Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy
Many know Tony Dungy as the NFL head coach who led Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in 2007. But many of us have no idea about the upbringing and the people and experiences that made him who he is today. Quiet Strength is a memoir written after Dungy’s Super Bowl victory and one of the most impactful years of his life.
The book takes us through Tony’s life in chronological order, beginning with his childhood and home life. Dungi had two honest and moral parents. He mentions in his book how they instilled in him a sense of peace and the difference between truth and falsehood. Dungy always says that when he’s feeling down or wants to confront someone, he has to think about what his dad used to tell him and see if yelling is going to do anything and actually make his situation better. You can tell from the beginning of the book that Dungy is family and always has been.
As a teenager, Tony was an excellent athlete. He played basketball and football in high school. As a tall, thin and muscular young man, he excelled in basketball and was actually a quarterback on the football team. He was actually so good that he went on to play football at the University of Minnesota. Dungy played hard for the Golden Gophers for four years and thought he had a good chance to play in the NFL. But for one thing, he didn’t have the typical build stats or college stats of an NFL quarterback and had to work his way into a professional team the hard way. He was skeptical about being drafted, and his doubts were justified because he had never received a call from a professional team. However, the Steelers eventually took a chance on him and signed him as a free agent to play in their defensive backfield.
Dungy spent most of his time in the Steelers organization. He felt comfortable in Pittsburgh because the property was more like a family to him than just a boss. He made the team as a defensive back because of his smaller size and won a Super Bowl in his short time there. Dungy happened to be playing for the best team at the time and ended up with a ring in one of his three playing years. Although he played professional football, he knew his days in the NFL were limited and had to think of something else he could do after his playing days were over. As an intelligent young man with experience as both a defender and defender, he was in a unique position to become an excellent coach.
Tony has 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 knew all the right people on the teams he played for, and they propelled him in his coaching career with his drive and character. His first head coaching job was as a coordinator and assistant coach after several years. The Glazers, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hired him as their head coach. The Glazers and Dungy have had a great relationship throughout their careers in Tampa Bay. They fully supported him and his honest ideas about running the perfect football team. Dungy ended up leading his team to back-to-back NFC championships, but never made it to the big game. So the Glazers decided to release Coach Dungy. Not only was he fired, but so was his coaching staff. This is what bothered Tony the most; he felt he could find another job in the NFL, but he had a terrible time knowing that his assistant coach, handpicked by coach Dungy himself, might not have the same future.
Shortly 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 Colts owner told him that he had recently fired his coach and knew that Tony would be the perfect fit for the Indianapolis head coaching job. Tony and his new manager develop a football team as part of the community, not just to win games. Tony’s ideas about ethics, self-worth and family first work well for his Indianapolis football players.
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 at another level. The team entered the playoffs every year, where they usually faced their arch-rivals, the New England Patriots. The Patriots usually get the best of the Colts, but not in 2007. Dungy won almost every regular season game, beat them all 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 realized that he had to use his knowledge and fame to make the world a better place. Dungy knew that as a successful black man with such an important title and world championship to his name, he could make an impact.
Tony Dungy has always been an extremely busy man, working seven days a week and usually sleeping only a few hours. However, he always finds time to do charity work. This includes church work, running charities with his wife Lauren and running All Pro Dad. This organization aims to make fathers across the country better men and teach these men to be there for their children. The concept is simple but very important. Imagine how many children in this world don’t know who their father is and how they don’t have a male presence in their lives. All Pro Dad teaches fathers and even men to be role models for the youth of the world.
While Coach Dungey has shown himself to be a great man and a great person, it’s what he does behind the scenes that makes him truly great; puts his family first and always puts them first. Tony and Laura not only have many children of their own, they have also started adopting. Because they are in such a fortunate position in the world and financially secure, they have improved the lives of black orphans. Anyone who has children knows that they can be a blessing, but sometimes difficult. Often in life, children can bring incredible happiness, but also sad moments. Tony and Laura’s first adopted child lacks a critical gene that allows him to feel pain. Since a child cannot feel pain, its parents must always supervise the child to make sure that it does not do anything that could unknowingly harm it.
Much of Coach Dungy’s book is uplifting and positive, but there is one part of the book that leaves the reader in awe. During Dungy’s championship season in 2007, he got a call in the middle of the night. Everyone knows that midnight calls are never good, and this call was heartbreaking; Dungy’s mentor’s son, Jamie, committed suicide. Dungy says over and over that he will never know what caused Jamie to die, but he knows that Jamie put God first in his life and is definitely in Heaven now. It’s sad to read about the terrible things that happen to such great people, but Dungey put a positive spin on the situation. She 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 a good person like his father.
After reading Coach Dungy’s memoir, one thing is clear: Coach Dungy lives his life for God. Life takes you through the highest highs and the lowest lows. What makes us all different and special is how we deal with these situations. Dungy has learned to persevere through life’s difficult moments and be humble in heroic 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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