Tony Dungy told a story Wednesday about interviewing for an NFL coaching job some years back and having an owner tell him that he planned to pour millions and millions of dollars into the franchise and needed to know how committed Dungy was to winning.
“I need to know if this job is going to be the most important thing in your life,” Dungy recalled the owner asking him. “I said, ‘No, it won’t be.’ . . . I didn’t get the job, and I was OK with that.’”
Dungy, the recently-retired head coach of the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts and a father of six, shared that anecdote during a joint press conference held Wednesday at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall with Georgia coach Mark Richt. The occasion was to announce their new partnership in one of Dungy’s longtime passions, the All Pro Dad program.
First of all I have to say I was impressed with the media turnout. It appeared that every Atlanta television station and pretty much every newspaper and dot-com that covers the Bulldogs was present. There were a number of onlookers as well, coaches and athletic department personnel that probably just wanted to stop in and meet Dungy. In any case, it filled to standing-room only the expansive team-meeting room on the first floor of the football complex. That said a lot about the drawing power of these two men for what is ostensibly a charitable cause.
I’m a father, so I’m biased, but I found their message and cause to be quite worthy of the attention it got, especially in the day and age we live in where so many children grow up without fathers in their lives. All Pro Dad, an off-shoot of the national non-profit Family First, is dedicated to strengthening the bonds between fathers and children. It does this by providing daily tips via email and its website and a kind of road map for ways to spend more time with your children. They’re best known for their creed of “Ten Ways to be a Better Dad.” It’s a sort of club for fathers and they have monthly and annual events dads and their kids can attend.
Dungy, a father of six, founded the program while he was head coach of the Tampa Bay Bucanneers in 1997 and it was eventually adopted by the whole of the NFL. Now retired, he wants to expand the program’s reach into colleges and, already of good friend of Richt, he chose Georgia as the jumping-off point.
Both Richt and Dungy break the stereotype of the 20-hours-a-day, sleep-in-the-office football coach. Richt, a father of four, has staff meetings late enough in the morning that his assistants can have breakfast with their families and drop off the kids at school. He has Family Night dinners at the football complex at least once a week but mothers and children usually show up at the end of most every day.
“I’m so appreciative of Coach Richt because I think he’s been doing it the right way and setting an example that you can be a good husband and father and still be successful,” Dungy said.
Said Richt: “We want our guys to grow up and become wonderful husbands and fathers. We’re constantly planting those seeds for these young men’s lives.”
A big event at UGA is still in the planning stages, likely some day in June, in which dads and their kids will come to Sanford Stadium for a whole day of activities. We’ll let you know when we know. . . .
Now, for some hardcore football news regarding Georgia’s Pro Day Thursday: This is going to be a huge event (closed to public unfortunately). But us media types can be there and I’m going to be blogging live from it all day. It will run from 10 a.m. until at least 1 p.m. and will feature 14 Georgia players. Of course, the main attractions will be Matthew Stafford, who will be throwing around 12:15 p.m., and tailback Knowshon Moreno. Both are expected to be first-round picks. Not surprisingly, there will be representatives from all 32 NFL teams, including a some big-name coaches and GMs, according to Richt.
“We really believe it’s going to be one of the biggest Pro Day’s we’ve had since we got here,” Richt said. “I told all our players to be there to see it because it’s basically an interview for an NFL job. This is what they dream about.”
Other UGA players showing off for the scouts Thursday: Receivers Mohamed Massaquoi, Kenneth Harris and Demiko Goodman; cornerbacks Asher Allen and Ramarcus Brown; fullback Brannan Southerland; linebacker Dannell Ellerbe; defensive tackle Corvey Irvin; defensive ends Jeremy Lomax and Jarius Wynn; safety CJ Byrd; and punter Brian Mimbs.