Tony Dungy Book Report

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  • Topic: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Super Bowl, Indianapolis Colts
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  • Published : October 13, 2008
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Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, & Priorities of a Winning Life

Author: Tony Dungy

A Book Report

Michael Fors

BUS 625/626 • Dr. David Bess

The book I chose was Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, & Priorities of a Winning Life, by Tony Dungy. This is more than an autobiography of the life of Tony Dungy, the coach of the 2006 Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts. Woven throughout his life story are the principles, practices, and priorities of a life that is able to lead others towards positive change, not by focusing on success, but by focusing on building up men by focusing on character, respect and integrity.

Not only am I a fan of NFL football but more so I’m a fan of strong, effectual leaders. Sure I really enjoy the big plays, the big hits, and the long bomb in the last seconds of the game that scores the winning touchdown. Most of all, though, I admire the leadership principles that pervade the sport. You’ll hear these principles touted in many of the interviews with the best coaches and players throughout the league.

Tony Dungy made a name for himself around the league for being a coach that could come in and turn an entire NFL franchise around. When he took over as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers they were one of the worst teams in football; when he left they were Super Bowl contenders. When he took over the Indianapolis Colts he took them all the way to the Super Bowl in 2006 and won. After that Super Bowl I took a special interest in this remarkable coach. I wanted to know what made him a strong leader who could lead men like this at such a high level. Moreover, I wanted to know his secret to being a strong force for change among men of this caliber.

This book is rich with real world examples of several leadership concepts and provides a practical model of how to bring about change in an organization. In the next few pages I’ll detail the character qualities Tony Dungy demonstrated, the leadership techniques he employed, and how he brought about change to a team and to the league as a whole. Finally I’ll conclude with summarizing the principles that stood out most to me and how I can apply them to my profession and my personal life.


I don’t yell. In a league dominated by coaches known for their boisterous rants, angry outbursts and demeaning reprimands, Tony seemed to stand alone with his quiet, calm demeanor. For his players this took some getting used to. For most of their careers they’d been severely berated when they missed a tackle or dropped a pass. Tony, on the other hand, would often tell his players that if that’s what they needed to get motivated then they were on the wrong team. He refused to adopt this method of motivation; his method revolved around communicating respect and trust. “No excuses” was one of his mantras, or sayings that he would repeat over and over again. If you’re not going to get yelled at after a bad play then there’s no reason to give excuses. Tony would rather have you simply walk to the sideline, sit down and focus on how you can get better. Players began to appreciate his even keeled persona as it helped them to settle down on the field and focus on the game rather the pressures of not failing.

Be stubborn when you’re right. Tony was often criticized for his unemotional style among fans and other coaches. This criticism came to a peak after he lost his third straight playoff game and he was fired as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Many began to view him as the kind of coach who can't win the big one. Many thought that because of his apparent lack of passion he was not able to get his team "up" for the big game. Tony stuck by his guns. He wasn’t going to succumb to the pressures and change his philosophy of respect and trust. Chuck Knowles, the Super Bowl winning coach of the Steelers, told him once, “Being...
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