(via Tampa Bay Buccaneers Communications) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that former head coach Tony Dungy will be this season’s sole inductee, and 12th overall, to the club’s prestigious Ring of Honor.
The ceremony will take place during the team’s nationally-televised Monday Night Football home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 24. A formal press conference will be conducted at the team’s headquarters at One Buccaneer Place during training camp.
Dungy, a 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinee, amassed a 54-42 regular season record as head coach of the Buccaneers, posting a franchise-best .563 winning percentage and four playoff appearances.
Buccaneers Owner/Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer said: “Tony Dungy’s impact on the Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay community is not measured in terms of wins and losses. Tony transformed our entire organization and established a winning culture that set the foundation for the most successful era in our franchise’s history. Through his exceptional leadership, Tony set a new benchmark for excellence on and off the field that we still strive to achieve to this day.”
In 1996, the Glazer Family provided Dungy his first head coaching opportunity on any level after spending the previous 15 seasons as an NFL assistant. In his first season leading the team, Dungy’s even-tempered approach and strong leadership guided the team to a 6-10 season which included five wins in the team’s last seven games. It would prove to be the only losing campaign in his six seasons as head coach.
By the end of his second season, the transformation was clearly underway as Dungy led Tampa Bay to its first winning record since 1982, earning a playoff berth and delivering Tampa Bay’s first playoff victory in 18 years. Prior to the 1997 turnaround, the Buccaneers had lost double-digit games in 13 of the previous 14 seasons. In contrast, Tampa Bay earned four postseason berths in a five-year span under Dungy from 1997-2001, one of only two NFL teams to accomplish that feat, and never posted a season record below .500. The four playoff appearances in Dungy’s six seasons (1996-2001) tied for the third-most in the NFL during that span.
When Dungy brought his defensive expertise to Tampa Bay, he inherited the league’s 27th-ranked defense. In his first season, the Buccaneers improved to No. 11 overall. In each of the next five seasons, that unit ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in total defense and points allowed. Collectively, over Dungy’s six-year tenure, the Buccaneers led the NFL on a per game basis in points allowed (17.0), total net yards allowed (286.7) and passing yards allowed (184.1), while allowing the fewest yards per passing attempt (6.14).
“I will always be grateful to the Glazer family for giving me my first opportunity to coach a team,” Dungy said. “It was an awesome time for me and my family as we encountered so many special players, staff members, and fans. This induction into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor puts a bow on all those great memories.”
Dungy’s legacy extends beyond statistics and records. Two of his stalwart defensive players, Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp, became fellow Hall of Fame inductees, while perennial Pro Bowlers John Lynch (2018 finalist), Ronde Barber (2018 semifinalist) and Simeon Rice (2018 semifinalist) remain on the ballot.
Among Dungy’s assistant coaches during his Tampa Bay tenure were future NFL head coaches Jim Caldwell, Herman Edwards, Rod Marinelli, Lovie Smith and Mike Tomlin. On February 4, 2007, while head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Dungy faced off against Smith’s Chicago Bears as the two became the first African-American coaches to reach the Super Bowl. Dungy emerged victorious. Two years later, Tomlin followed in his footsteps when he led the Steelers to a Super Bowl XLII victory.
Beyond the football field, Dungy’s impact can be felt by the work he does through the Dungy Family Foundation. Based in Tampa, the charity assists organizations in all the NFL cities where Dungy played or coached – Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, Tampa and Indianapolis – by providing opportunities to those in need through educational, emotional and/or financial support. He also serves as the NFL spokesman for All Pro Dad and is active in Big Brothers Big Sisters and Prison Crusade Ministry, among other philanthropic endeavors.
Since retiring from coaching, Dungy has served as a studio analyst for NBC’s Football Night in America and Sunday Night Football since 2009. He has authored numerous books that have earned the distinction of New York Times Best Sellers.
Dungy and his wife, Lauren, are the parents of 10 children and still reside in Tampa.
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