Thanks to Bright House Networks for the invite to lunch today to listen to former Colts and Bucs coach, Tony Dungy. It was my first time getting to hear him speak. It was an informal talk.
Dungy spent 10 years in Pittsburgh - 2 years as a player (Super Bowl win) and 8 years as an assistant coach under Chuck Knoll. He became head coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs in 1996. He mentioned that he didn't get hired earlier as a head coach because he didn't yell or scream or cuss. General managers didn't know how he would motivate players without those antics. He said he would do it by Respect.
He promised the Glazers (owners of the Bucs) that he would put a good product on the field but also off the field as he thought players and the team had a responsibility to lead in the community. He thought the team could make Tampa a better place to live.
Derrick Brooks was one of the first players to step up. The banners surrounding the stadium now but in 1996 (in the new stadium), Number 55 was the first with Brooks Bunch. He was followed by Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn (who just gave his 100th home to a signle mom!) This is the lasting impact of the Super Bowl Bucs - what they did for the community.
Dungy said that you needed the right type of players. "Talent will win you games, but Character will win you championships." Players had talent, but they had to have Character if they played for him. They would do background checks all the way to high school to find out about a player before draft.
Besides talent and character, Dungy asked if the player would fit well in the current locker room. Teamwork was the key to success. He also wanted self-starters. It isn't so different for businesses: a company needs talent, character, culture and teamwork - everyone striving for the same vision.
Our current Bucs team are OH-fer. Fans stopped watching - some of it due to TV blackouts for two seasons and some of it because the product wasn't good - on or off the field. Too many players only made the papers when they were being arrested. We have 3 Pro Bowl players and many didn't know that! The players and the team aren't getting much press - and no TV time with few fans in the stadium. It amounts to not a lot of revenue for the Glazers. Where are the Role Models and Community Leaders on this team?
Some other noteworthy thoughts:
Dungy remembers how important his barber was during his childhood. The barber would ask him about his life; give him nuggets about life. Another guest that works with the Boys and Girls Club in Pinellas County mentioned that the barber is also where he learns about what is going on in the community - from the people at the barber shop. The barber shop, like neighbors, were where role models could be found to talk about Life a little bit more.
Dungy said that Bright House Sports Network has raised the level on high school sports by televising them, especially the live broadcasts.
Dungy mentioned that his father taught him many lessons, including to become an Uncommon Person. It is difficult to Step Out and walk away from the crowd. Dungy said that doing what is right is hard, but kids today should be taught that if the crowd is running in the wrong direction, they should go the other way and make the crowd follow you. Be the Uncommon Man. Be Who You Are. He retired from coaching because he has 6 kids left at home and he wants to be more available to them as that was an important part of parenting.