Lovie Smith’s close friend and mentor Tony Dungy announced his retirement as Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts on Monday. Dungy gave Smith his first NFL coaching experience when he hired him as a Linebackers coach for Tampa Bay. The close friends crossed paths in an historic matchup in Super Bowl XLI, when Dungy became the first African-American Head Coach to win a Super Bowl. Lovie’s comments from the Chicago Bears website:
“I’m happy for Tony and his family, but sad for our league because we are losing one of the all-time great coaches,” Smith said. “He is one of the modern-day pioneers of our game. His résumé includes achievements no other NFL head coach has accomplished, which I’m sure will lead to a spot in the Hall of Fame. And as great of a coach as he is, he’s an even better person.
“I owe Tony a lot. I would not be in my position today if it wasn’t for him providing me with an opportunity and mentorship. I learned a tremendous amount of football in my time with Tony in Tampa and made a friend for life. I’m proud to be a member of his coaching tree.”
I was able to find some cool NFL Films footage with the Dungy Coaching Tree on the www.nfl.com. Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4. Part 4 is a tad bittersweet as it highlights Super Bowl XLI as the crowning achievement of the Dungy Coaching Tree. I’d like to think the crowning achievement is yet to come for the Chicago Branch of the Dungy Coaching Tree.