Dungy Announces Retirement
UPDATED (6:30 p.m.)...
Tony Dungy walked away from football and the Indianapolis Colts today, announcing his retirement after seven seasons with the team with which he became the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl title.
Dungy, 53, said he hadn't decided what his post-coaching career will be but he hopes to work with children in some capacity.
"My wife and I talked, and we just felt it was the right time," Dungy said at a news conference. "I think I've got a chance to do some things down the road. I think I've got a responsibility to be home a little more."
Dungy is to be replaced by Jim Caldwell, who was designated as Dungy's eventual successor by the Colts last offseason.
Dungy had been contemplating his coaching future since the Colts' season ended in a first-round playoff loss at San Diego. He said he originally had hoped to walk off the field in Tampa, Fla., next month with a second Super Bowl triumph and retire then. When the Colts lost a first-round playoff game in San Diego, his initial thought was to return for another season because he didn't want to exit on such a disappointment, he said. But he changed his mind during conversations last week with his wife, Lauren.
"I've been tremendously blessed to play three years in the NFL and coach for 28, and those 31 years have been fantastic," Dungy said. "... Don't shed any tears for me. I've got to live a dream that most people don't get to live. What phase two is, we'll see.... I have a real peace about it that this is the right time."
He said he doesn't plan to coach again, but realizes there's a chance he could have a future change of heart.
"I knew this day would come at some point," Colts owner Jim Irsay said. "... Nothing stays the same. Things change.... As an owner, you dream about having the kind of relationship with a head coach that I've had with Tony."
Colts President Bill Polian called Dungy a future Hall of Fame selection.
"What an incredible privilege it has been to work with this extraordinary man," Polian said at the news conference. "... We'll miss his faith. We'll miss his optimism. We'll miss his patience.... What a joy it was to come to work with Tony Dungy every day."
Last offseason, the Colts named Caldwell, their quarterbacks coach who also had the title of associate head coach, to succeed Dungy whenever he retired.
Dungy indicated after the game in San Diego that he would take a week to make his decision. He followed a similar process in each of the previous few offseasons, having made it clear long ago that he didn't consider himself a lifer in the coaching business.
"I just think personally he feels he has a higher calling," Colts defensive back Marlin Jackson told ESPN. "He's a man of faith and he thinks that's more important than football."
The Colts went 12-4 this season, winning their final nine regular season games, and quarterback Peyton Manning won his third NFL most valuable player award. But they were upset by the Chargers in overtime in their playoff opener.
Dungy had a regular season record of 85-27 with the team. He previously served as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had an overall regular season record of 139-69. He reached the playoffs 11 times in 13 seasons as an NFL head coach.
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