Tony Dungy Press Conference

Colts head coach Tony Dungy and assistant head coach Jim Caldwell announce to the media Tony Dungy's return as the Colts' head coach and answer questions regarding his decision-making process!

HEAD COACH TONY DUNGY

Opening comments...

"I'm somewhat flattered, I guess, by having this press conference just to announce that nothing has changed. I appreciate the attention and interest. Really for me the process was not a whole lot different than the last three years, as was mentioned. I got to my 10th year as a head coach, and I love this franchise, I love my family, and my decision after my 10th year was, ‘Can I give my family and the franchise the energy, passion that they both deserve?' I made the decision that I could, and had the same discussion with my wife and with Jim (Irsay) and Bill (Polian) after last year and made the decision that I could. And really took the same process this year. It was a little surprising that it became more followed than the previous two years, but that's what took place. It was a mutual decision on the part of my wife and I that we wanted to go forward and we're excited about it. I look at this job as a job, but I also look at it as a ministry. I wouldn't come back if I didn't think we had a chance to win and that I was the very best person to help this organization win. I wouldn't come back because we do have capable people here. I wouldn't short-change my family and wouldn't come back if my wife or my children were not for it. So that's how the decision was made. Jim (Irsay) and Bill (Polian), we kind of talked about what might happen if I didn't come back. They knew that Jim Caldwell was the person they wanted to succeed me. It really took a lot of pressure off me because I know where Jim's value is in the marketplace, and the fact that people were coming after him. And I didn't want our organization to lose him and lose me the next year if it didn't have to happen. So that took a lot of pressure off me to not say, ‘I have to make a decision maybe not to come back so we didn't lose Jim.' We know that he's going to be in place here and that helped me out tremendously, but other than that, it was really a family decision, and we're on board and looking forward to '08 and looking forward to putting together a winner. I'm happy about being back. My whole family is happy, and hopefully our team and everyone here is happy."

On being in this situation the past three years and if there is a good chance he will be in this situation a year from now...

"I think we will. We'll evaluate it the same way, we'll look at the pros and cons, I'll look at the energy level that I have. I hope it isn't this much of a media event, but I'm sure I will have the same evaluation every year for as long as I keep coaching."


Tony Dungy
Stephen Dunn/Getty

On him coaching here while his family will be living in Tampa...

"There's not a lot that's going to be different. The thing that my wife and I realize is that we have done this before. We've done it for two years, we've done it parts of years that I've been other places. My dad actually commuted when I was in high school and was home on the weekends, and I think he raised four pretty good kids. If we felt it was going to be a burden at all, we wouldn't do it. But we feel comfortable with the time that they're going to be up here and the time I'm going to be down there."

On what he saw in Jim Caldwell when he brought him to Tampa Bay in 2001...

"Jim Caldwell's a special guy. We played against each other in college, didn't know each other that well, but I followed him a lot. We had an opening for a quarterback coach. I interviewed him and it took 15 minutes to figure out that he was a special person. I wanted him to come here with me in ‘02 when we came, and he has just continued to grow. I think he's going to be a great leader for this organization at some point. He's been special in our development, and he has all the qualities I think you would look for in a head coach. There was no doubt in my mind that we should have lost him a couple of years ago, but we were going to lose him quickly and I'm glad we're not."

On if there was anything different about his decision-making process from other seasons...

"Not really, it was absolutely the same. We used the same methodology. We tried to not to get caught in the emotion of the last game, whether it was a loss in the playoffs or a Super Bowl win. My wife and I get away from it, we talk through it. I try to see how much passion and how much energy I have after all that emotion wears off and if I'm excited about going back. And I am. We try to canvass where the kids are, the same process for the last three years, nothing different."

On him changing his mind from after the Super Bowl and deciding to return in 2007, and if he changed his mind at all this past week in deciding to return...

"It did, probably. I think at the end of the year, especially after that last game, whether it's a win or loss, you're very drained and you think this would be a good time to end it. But that's what you have to see. Does that passion come back? Does the excitement come back? Usually it does in a couple of days, and in that last two years that's exactly what happened. The year before that it was a little different circumstance, and I told Jim (Irsay) that I really just had to see if I could have the focus and the concentration and could do it. But the last two years have been the same."

On if he considered any incentives or deals—such as more time away during the offseason—as part of the deal to stay as head coach...

"That wasn't the difference. I owe Jim (Irsay) an awful lot. I think the world of him, he's been a special owner, and I wouldn't want to work for anybody else. But that really wasn't the biggest factor. The biggest factor was number one, do I still think I'm the best person for the job? Number two, where is my family in all of that? And number three, do I have the passion and energy to do it? If I didn't think that we could come back and win, I wouldn't be here. Jim's a gracious guy, but that really didn't have anything to do with it."

On if there was anything that his wife, Lauren said to win him over or swayed him to stay, or could she have said, ‘Tony, we need you home,' and that been it...

"Absolutely. And if she would have said that I think that would have been the end of the discussion, but we are definitely on one accord on this. She wants me to come back, and that's how we make decisions."

On his philosophy on faith and family and him being away from home...

"I think everybody has to look at their situation and what's the best. We have a lot of things going on in our family that won't be public, don't need to be public, and don't need to be anybody else's business. We have our kids' best interests in mind and my family's best interests in mind, and we think we're going to be okay. As I said, I've had some experience doing this. Every football coach has had experience doing it for parts of the year. Every time you move and change jobs you do it. We had our oldest daughter graduate and they stayed in Tampa for two years there, so it's not unchartered water for us. It happens. People go on missionary trips and they decide to leave parts of their family at home to do things. It's not something that's out of the ordinary at all. I feel good about where we are as a family, my wife feels good about it, and that's the important thing."

On if there was anything different about his decision-making process from other seasons...

"I don't anticipate it changing at all, and that's one of the things—I'm writing a letter to our team, as I do every year, about what we have to do—and I'm going to assure them that nothing's going to change in terms of what I'm going to be like, where I'm going to be, any of that. Again, it's something that I've done before, and it hasn't been that much of a problem."

On him previously saying he wouldn't coach past 50 and if the platform of the job and the job itself have had an impact on him more than he thought...

""That's part of it, that is definitely part of it. Number one, I enjoy my job. I enjoy the players that I coach, the staff that we have here. I enjoy working with Jim (Irsay) and Bill (Polian), so that makes it easier. But number two, it is a platform. I do take my faith seriously, my faith is part of what I do, and that's something that my wife and I talked about. And I talked about it with our pastor as well. You say, ‘Hey, I could stop doing this and try to start in another ministry,' and I might not have as effective a ministry as I have right now. Part of the last couple of days of thinking about this and deciding was hearing from players that I've coached before and hearing them thank you for the input that you've had in their lives. That has an impact on you, and it had an impact on my wife and I. So that is part of it, that I see it as a little bit more than just a job."


Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning
Eliot Schechter/Getty

On if he spoke to any of the Colts players...

"I did talk to some of our leadership and just told them to bear with me and it wasn't going to be any different; if I did come back, they could certainly expect the same routine, the same regimen we've always had, and I only wanted to come back if I thought I could help them win a championship. They were all very supportive of that. Most of the guys that talked to me said, ‘Hey, we're with you, Coach, whatever you decide to do, but we'd like to have you back.' And that certainly weighed into it as well."

On what former players impacted his decision from him making an impact on their lives...

"I talked to Warrick Dunn. I can remember Warrick coming in and being responsible for his siblings, and he's 21 years old. Talking to my wife, we had a conversation about that, my wife was going to PTA meetings with him and trying to get him where he could get his siblings through school. I remember thinking, I can barely handle this with my family at 45 years old and here's a 21-year old that has to do it. Being able to see that and to see where Warrick is now and where his two brothers and sister are, that's a great feeling. You remember those things. It becomes more than just wins and losses and Super Bowl championships, and you realize that the relationships are part of what you enjoy. That kind of helped sway (the decision) as well."

ASSISTANT HEAD COACH JIM CALDWELL

Opening remarks...

"First of all, I would like to say thank you to Jim Irsay and Bill (Polian) and Tony (Dungy) for their support. Certainly the process that we went through was one that was very, very healthy discussion. I certainly appreciate the opportunity of one day leading this team sometime in the future. And I hope it's in the distant future. I have a unique opportunity to learn from men that know this business inside and out, from Jim (Irsay) who has been involved in this business since he was 13 years old and certainly has a great grasp of it. And Bill (Polian), obviously in every aspect of the game is a true professional and certainly a wealth of knowledge. And as a head coach, there's probably no better example in this country than the man that I work for and support. He's taught me an awful lot, and I'm certainly looking forward to learning a lot more. In terms of the future, the future for me is getting ready to go into battle here in 2008. We are working right now, presently, on planning how we're going to go about getting our team better to accomplish our goals for next year. And that's about as far as I've looked at it. For the most part in terms of my duties, they will not change. I'm going to still be working with the quarterbacks like I've always done. And I'm certainly here to do anything that my boss would ask me to do."

On if his role and duties and if he will make suggestions, etc....

"I won't be doing anything any differently than I've always done. We have a very, very open sort of discussion between all of our staff members. We have a lot of guys with a lot of experience, like (Offensive Coordinator) Tom Moore and (Offensive Line Coach) Howard Mudd, and everybody feels a freedom to speak their mind about any particular aspect of our organization. So that won't change, in that regard. What will change a little bit is I'll have an opportunity to be made privy to some information just from a learning standpoint, that maybe I'll be involved in a few more meetings that I wasn't involved in previously."

On being in other interviews and what made him realize this was the place he wanted to be...

"This is a special place, obviously. We've had an awful lot of success here. Working with the people here with the Colts organization is an absolute honor and a pleasure. Getting an opportunity, although there are some great franchises across the United States and a lot of great owners and a lot of great leaders in this business, there are none better than the three men that I'm standing up here with today (Jim Irsay, Bill Polian and Tony Dungy). So it's going to be a real pleasure to be able to hang around here for an extended period of time."

On interviewing other places and how exciting it was for him that the Colts did not want to lose him...

"Obviously as we had an opportunity to visit with a few teams, it was an educational process and certainly one when we finally got down to just talking about the possibility of my staying here, I was really excited about it because of the fact that it's not very often that you get an opportunity to in the future take over and be involved with an organization that has been as successful as this one. Typically, you go into a situation that you have to restructure, rebuild, etc. Here is an opportunity that doesn't come along very often, so I really feel blessed in that regard."

On his role in Tony Dungy's decision-making process...

"I was probably much like most of us that are here. One thing we know, he's probably one of the most sound decision-makers that any of us have ever been around. He's going to weigh things out in the proper perspective, and not only consult his family but certainly in prayer as well. So all we had to do was be patient and support him, and if he needed any questions answered, anything of that nature—which he didn't—and certainly support him once he decided to do whatever he chose to do."


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