Former Steelers player, coach Tony Dungy inducted into Bucs’ Ring of Honor
Halftime of the Monday Night Football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers proved the perfect setting for Tony Dungy to be inducted into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame coach spent significant moments in his career with both organizations, but Tampa Bay is where he made his name and has made his home.
“This is just a tremendous, tremendous honor,” said Dungy, who thanked the Glazer family ownership and the former Bucs players who lined up behind him “My entire thought process in coaching was to show people that you can have Christian values and still be successful.”
Dungy began his NFL career with the Steelers in 1977, was a member of their Super Bowl XIII champions and later served as defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator under Chuck Noll.
Dungy became only the fifth African-American head coach in NFL history when the Bucs hired him in 1996. His Cover 2 defense, now universally known as the Tampa 2, became famous as he was the architect of an incredible turnaround of a moribund franchise. Dungy ended the Bucs’ 13-year losing streak and guided them to the playoffs four times in six seasons from 1996-2001.
Dungy doesn’t get enough credit for constructing the team that won the Super Bowl the year after he was fired, under the guidance of Jon Gruden. Dungy eventually led the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl XIII championship before retiring in January 2009.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin served as Dungy’s defensive backs coach in ’01, and said he had a “great deal of respect for” Dungy and the influence he had on his career.
“Coach just provided a daily blueprint on how he approached it,” Tomlin said last week. “He was himself every day. It was a steady focus and compass through unsteady waters that can be in NFL seasons. I felt that. Working for him is steady leadership. Guys knew where they stood with him, a clean communicator. I think those are some of the key ingredients that allowed him to be successful, successful in multiple places, successful for a period of time. He’s worthy of the honor that he’s gotten and he’s getting this upcoming Monday night.”
Dungy, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016, became the 12 th member of the Bucs’ Ring of Honor, joining Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and linebacker Derrick Brooks, former head coaches John McKay and Gruden, All-Pro tackle Paul Gruber and fullback Mike Alstott, Pro Bowl tight end Jimmie Giles and safety John Lynch, quarterback Doug Williams and late owner Malcolm Glazer.
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin at [email protected] or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.