Tony Dungy no longer needs the game-day apparel and gear of an NFL head coach, but that doesn’t keep him from donning distinctively different attire when the occasion calls for it.
Tony Dungy gathers his family, including the newest member, and their fourth adopted child, Jason. Back row: Eric, 18, wife Laren with 10-month old Jason; and Dungy with Justin, 3. Front: Tiara, 24; Jade, 8; and Jordan 9.
“They asked me to play John the Baptist,” Dungy said of his church’s Easter pageant, in which he baptized his 18-year-old son Eric, who was playing Jesus.
“It was just really moving,” Dungy said. “I was just so proud of him.” Smiling at the memory of the moment, Dungy credited his son with having “a heart” to practice and rehearse.
Perhaps Dungy’s role as John the Baptist may be apropos to the prophetic voice the former Super Bowl-winning coach has been sounding for men to love and respect their wives and for fathers to be a down-to-earth “Superman” to their children. And in a broader sense, Dungy’s prophetic voice has pointed people toward living for Christ, indeed letting Christ live through them, as the ultimate success in life.
Since retiring from the Indianapolis Colts in 2009, Dungy has kept his pledge to spend more time at home with his wife Lauren and their six children as well as more time at Central Tampa (Fla.) Baptist Church.
It’s the kind of commitment he promotes as a spokesman for All Pro Dad, a football-themed organization that aims to help men be good fathers.
At church, whether in teaching settings or just his attendance on Wednesday nights, Dungy has stepped forward.
It’s been “fun,” as he described it, “just being there and just being supportive and talking about what it means to grow up in this world, some of the pressures that you are going to see and how to handle them, and what the Bible says about image and decision-making and role modeling– just to be a sounding board for the young people in our church.”
Being consistent on Wednesday nights was Dungy’s intent in taking a weekend role on NBC’s “Football Night in America” after retiring from the NFL. And it enables him to be involved with his kids’ sporting events, birthdays and parent-teacher conferences.
“I feel like I’m more of a dad now,” Dungy said.