Book Review – Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy
A lot of people know Tony Dungy as the NFL head coach who brought Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in 2007. You may also know from watching him on television as the announcer and just by his mannerisms that he is a decent guy. . But many of us have no idea of his upbringing and the people and experiences that made him who he is today. Quiet Strength is a memoir that was written after Dungy’s super bowl victory and one of the most shocking years of his life.
The book takes us through Tony’s life in chronological order, beginning with his childhood and family life. Dungy had two honest and moral parents. He mentions in his book how they instilled in him a sense of calm and the difference between right and wrong. Dungy always says that when he feels frustrated or wants to confront someone, he should remember what his father used to say to him and find out if yelling will accomplish anything and improve his situation. From the beginning of the book it can be said that Dungy is and always has been a family man.
When he was a teenager, Tony was an excellent athlete. He played basketball and football in college high school. As a tall, lean, and muscular young man, he excelled in basketball and was actually a quarterback on the football team. In fact, he was so good that he went on to play soccer at the University of Minnesota. Dungy played a solid four years for the Golden Gophers and thought he had a solid opportunity to play in the NFL. However, one thing is, he didn’t have the typical build or college stats of an NFL quarterback and he would have to make his way onto a pro team the hard way. He was skeptical about being recruited, and his suspicions turned out to be correct, as he never received a call from a professional team. However, the Steelers finally gave him a chance and signed him as a free agent to play in their defensive backfield.
Dungy made the most of his time in the Steelers organization. He was comfortable in Pittsburgh because the property was more like a family to him than just a boss. He made the team as a defensive running back due to his smaller size and won a Super Bowl during the short time he was there. Dungy was playing for the best team at the time and ended up with a ring during one of his three years as a player. Although he played professional football, he knew his days in the NFL were limited and he needed to think of another job he could do once his playing days were over. As a smart young man with experience as a quarterback and defensive back, he was uniquely positioned to become an excellent coach.
Tony held various coaching jobs 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 used to play for and they sped him up in his coaching career due to their diligence and character. His first job as a head coach 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 great relationship throughout their entire career in Tampa Bay. They fully supported him and his simple ideas on how to run an entire soccer team. Dungy ended up leading his team to the NFC championship several years in a row, but was never able to make it to the biggest game. Therefore, the Glazers decided to release Coach Dungy. Not only did he get fired, but his coaching staff did too. This is what bothered Tony the most; He had a feeling he might find another NFL job, but he had a terrible time knowing that his assistant coaches, selected by Coach Dungy himself, might not have that 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 recently fired his coach and knew Tony would be a perfect fit for the head coach job in Indianapolis. Tony and his new boss would develop a soccer team as part of the community, not just to win games. Tony’s ideas on morality, responsibility for himself and family first for his soccer players would work well in Indianapolis.
Coach Dungy inherited an exceptional offense in Indianapolis, led by Peyton Manning. The defense needed work and confidence, but with the help of Dungy, they were quickly playing at a completely different level. The team began making it to the playoffs every year, where they usually ran into rivals, the New England Patriots. The Patriots usually got the better of the Colts, but not in 2007. Dungy won almost all of his regular-season games, 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 the Super Bowl, and he instantly knew he had to apply 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 a world championship to his name, he could have an impact.
Tony Dungy has always been an extremely busy man, working seven days a week, usually with only a few hours of sleep. However, he has always found time to do charity work. This includes church work, creating charitable organizations with his wife, Lauren, and running All Pro Dad. This organization focuses on making fathers across the country better people and teaching these men to be there for their children. The concept is simple, but deeply important. Imagine how many children in this world do not know who their parents are and how they do not have a male presence in their life. All Pro Dad teaches fathers and even male figures to be role models to the world’s youngest.
While Coach Dungy has proven to be a great man and a noble person, it is what he does behind the scenes that really makes him great; He puts his family first and always makes it his number one priority. Tony and Laura not only have numerous children of their own, but have begun adopting. Because they are in such a fortunate position in the world and financially well off, they have improved the lives of black orphaned children. 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. The first child Tony and Laura adopted lacks a critical gene that would allow him to feel pain. Since the child cannot feel pain, his parents should watch the child at all times to make sure that he is not doing anything that could unknowingly harm him.
Most of Coach Dungy’s book is uplifting and has a positive vibe, but there is one part of the book that takes the reader by surprise. During Dungy’s 2007 championship season, he received a call in the middle of the night. Everyone knows that calls in the middle of the night are never good, and this call was heartbreaking; Coach Dungy’s son Jamie had committed suicide. Dungy repeatedly says that he will never know what caused Jamie to take his own life, but he knows that Jamie had put God first in his life and he is undoubtedly in heaven now. It’s so sad to read about terrible things that happen to such wonderful people, but Dungy put a positive spin on the situation. He said that Jamie blessed their lives for eighteen years and that he should be remembered for all the joy he brought. Jamie never had an enemy and he became friends very easily. From what Tony Dungy wrote about Jamie, it is very clear that Jamie was as good a person as his father.
After reading Coach Dungy’s memoir, one thing is clear: Coach Dungy lives his life for God. Life will make you go through the highest and lowest moments. What makes us all different and special is how we react to these situations. Dungy has learned to persevere through life’s tough times and stay modest through championship-caliber times. Tony Dungy is a role model for all of us and we can all learn a positive lesson from reading his book. This book is rated 5 out of 5.