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Tony Dungy, the Indianapolis Colts head coach who led his team to the Super Bowl title in February, is a man with "class, dignity, grace, and poise," writes ESPN.com's Michael Smith. San Francisco Chronicle writer Ira Miller calls him "a real role model, a rare tower of dignity. Other coaches would do well to copy him." Colts punter Hunter Smith says Dungy is "a wonderful man of God" and "one of the greatest men I've ever met."

But Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Rick Telander has a different take: "There is a part of Dungy's philosophy that troubles me … and that is his insistence on making proper coaching not just a matter of good heart but of religious zeal, even dogma."

In March, Dungy, author of a new book published by Tyndale House, Quiet Strength, addressed the Indiana Family Institute, where he embraced its stance supporting a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Critics accused him of intolerance. Randy Boyd, writing for BeyondChron.com, San Francisco's "alternative online daily," lamented that Dungy had "chosen to align himself with … an organization whose purpose is to force its biblical will on America and oppress all things homosexual" and that Dungy "apparently has no love for me and 'my kind.'"

Dungy, 51, takes it all in stride.

"I wasn't really surprised by the reactions," he said. "Any time you are not politically correct, you're going to have people who disagree with you. That doesn't bother me."

One thing is certain: Dungy is cool under fire—even in the midst of tragedy. When his 18-year-old son, James, committed suicide in December 2005, a watching world wondered how he would react. Dungy missed the team's next game against the Seattle Seahawks ...

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A Kinder, Gentler Coach
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September 2007

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