A Gentle Warrior RetiresTony Dungy, who led the Indianapolis Colts to the 2007 Super Bowl title and became the first African American coach to win the NFL championship, quietly retired from coaching yesterday. Dungy, a class act who proved you don’t have to sell your soul or neglect your family to be a winner in the NFL, says he will now devote more time to his family and other pursuits.

In the past, Dungy, 53, has talked about his desire to mentor teens and do prison ministry. He will no doubt now pour himself into that work. A devout believer, his 2007 book, Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life, became a bestseller. In it, he wrote about what he liked most about the rhythm of football:

When a game ends, win or lose, it’s time to prepare for the next one. The coaches and players really don’t have time to celebrate or to stay down, because Sunday’s gone and Monday’s here. And no matter what happened yesterday, you have to be ready to play next Sunday. That’s how it works — just like life.

It’s the journey that matters. Learning is more important than the test. Practice well, and the games will take care of themselves.

When Dungy’s 18-year-old son, James, committed suicide in late 2005, many marveled at the man’s inner strength. His willingness to talk about the tragedy, and share how God had carried him and his family through it, encouraged millions.

We look forward to seeing what God does in this next chapter of Dungy’s life. Whether in the NFL or on some other field, one suspects this coach will still be ready to go next Sunday.

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