JACKSON, Tenn. – April 19, 2011 – Today’s youth need adults to be actively involved in their lives to encourage them to be “uncommon,” according to former NFL coach Tony Dungy.
“You never know what small step can make a big difference in young people’s lives,” Dungy said.
Dungy was the keynote speaker for Union University’s third annual Roy L. White Legacy Golf and Gala April 18 at the Carl Perkins Civic Center. The banquet event drew about 1,500 people, raising $375,000 for the university, and completed a day that began with a golf tournament at the Jackson Country Club.
“Tony and Lauren spoke from the heart as they addressed serious and very real issues facing young people today,” said Jerry Tidwell, Union’s senior vice president for university relations. “We are grateful to Roy and Martha White and other lead sponsors for helping to make this event possible.”
Dungy became the first black coach to win the Super Bowl when he led the Indianapolis Colts to victory in 2007. He played three seasons in the NFL and held assistant coaching positions with the University of Minnesota, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings before taking the head coaching job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996 and then the Colts in 2002.
He retired from coaching in 2008 and now serves as an analyst for NBC’s “Football Night in America.” He is also the author of the New York Times bestselling books “Quiet Strength” and “Uncommon.”
Dungy talked about the importance of children and teenagers being true to themselves and not simply following the crowd. Too often, youth are bombarded with the messages that drugs and alcohol are OK, that education is not important and that sexual promiscuity is acceptable, Dungy said.
“Our young people aren’t getting the whole truth,” he said.
That’s why they need adults who are concerned about the welfare of society to invest themselves in young people’s lives by volunteering for community organizations. “We’re going to need some faith in action,” Dungy said.
Following his remarks, Dungy answered questions from Union University President David S. Dockery, who asked him how he managed to be successful at the NFL level while still being a “nice guy.”
“I believe that Christ was really a nice guy, and he didn’t finish last,” Dungy said. “I felt that I could use God’s principles and he would allow me to succeed.”
Dungy also fielded a question about the current NFL labor dispute, and said he thinks the matter will be resolved prior to the scheduled start of the 2011 season.
In comments prior to Dungy’s address, his wife Lauren talked about the importance of supporting Christian education in today’s society. She described the United States as being at a crossroads, and said that Americans may have to do things that make them uncomfortable as they seek to make a difference in the lives of others.
“We have to trust God and let him help us through the doubts and fears that we may have,” she said.
At the golf tournament earlier in the day, the MG Construction team of Cody Kail, B.J. Stanfield, Clay Mallard and Mills Hamaguchi took first place.