Colts Press Conference

See what Colts owner Jim Irsay and team president Bill Polian had to say at Monday's press conference discussing the team's current and future coaching decisions!

Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay:

General Comments...

"Good afternoon. I am here to announce that Tony Dungy is still our coach. That's something obviously we are all excited about. I think the process has been ongoing for the last couple of years. Tony (Dungy), not like a lot of other coaches, sits down, putting so much into each season and wants to make sure he's ready to go and come back for another year.

"There's been a lot of attention on this and I understand that. It's been attention that's been earned because of Tony's accomplishments and the franchise's accomplishments.

"To me it's business as usual. I think a lot can be made out of this. I just don't see it being that complicated. I think what we have here is going in ‘08, looking to win. Things aren't going to be different in really any respect from that standpoint.

"Jim Caldwell is someone that Bill Polian and I have identified, certainly as well as Tony (Dungy), giving us input on what an outstanding coach he is. There's been a lot of interest in Jim over the last couple of years with head coaching interviews. We thought it was in our best interest to have a transition plan in place that would allow Jim to know that he's a guy that I look to be our head coach someday.

"I say someday because this isn't a victory lap tour for Tony (Dungy). This isn't definitely one year or something like that. I told everyone before that just like at the end of this coming year, we'll sit down and talk again. That's the way that it has been.

"I think that from that standpoint we don't have two head coaches. We are going to operate the way we've always operated. Tony (Dungy) is going to be around as much as he's always been around. From an owner's standpoint, I've just tried to make sure everything works out and you do that to try to give your team the best chance to win.

"It's not unusual. Bill Polian when he first started with us, his family was in Carolina. When Tony (Dungy) first started with us, it was that way as well.

"It's a great day for us as well, acknowledging Martin Luther King, Jr. day with Tony (Dungy) being the first African American coach to win the Super Bowl and Jim (Caldwell) following him up. There can be some negative things that are brought up. I don't really buy into any of them.

"This is something that is not that unusual at all. It's goes on in the past, it will go on in the future, in terms of where a coaches' family is and that sort of thing. Tony's (Dungy) committed to his family, he's committed to the franchise and that's what every head coach that has balance has to do. They have families, they have the franchise to look after and Tony (Dungy) does a great job in balancing that. That's the way it will be.

"In terms of going forward, we're focused on a great ‘08. As an owner of the franchise, we want more. That's what we're focused on, is really committing ourselves, re-doubling our efforts and really being focused as an organization; every member, every player, every coach, because we want to be playing right now, and it hurts that we're not and we all hurt from that. So my focus is on that. I know Tony's focus is on that as well as Bill Polian, Jim Caldwell, everyone else."

Colts President Bill Polian:

General Comments...

"This is a tableau that I think is not only emblematic but is the practical way this franchise works. You have an owner that's tremendously committed to winning and an administrative and coaching staff that feels the same way and works hand and glove with ownership. That's why we achieved what we have over the past nine years.

"The good news is that Tony's (Dungy) back. He's back for not only this season, but perhaps beyond that. The 'no' news, or that lack of news is that this has gone on for the past three years. It's only become public this year unfortunately, and this is a process that we've gone through privately for each of the past three years because Tony said many times that coaching isn't what he's going to do forever.

"And at the end of each season, he sits down in conjunction with Jim Irsay and myself and talks through the various issues. That's happened this year and unfortunately it became public issue, so that's made things perhaps a little more unwieldy than we would have liked, but the end result is what it's been for the past three years. Tony (Dungy) remains the coach and remains a hundred percent committed to doing the coaching.

"I presume that's a situation that will occur every year as long as Tony coaches. And I hope that's long beyond my tenure here, as I've said many times.

"This year in terms of how we should proceed, just as we did four year ago when we named Jim Caldwell assistant head coach at that point in time, we identified him four years ago as a guy that we thought would be appropriate to take over the reigns if and when anything would require Tony's absence.

"Unfortunately and tragically, something did, and Jim took over and we saw that we made the right decision, without question. Now as Tony (Dungy) contemplated, as he has for the past three years, going on or ending his coaching tenure, and going on to something else, we thought that it was appropriate to set in place a transition plan that would be as seamless as possible.

"The first part of that plan was the easiest part, identifying the individual that we thought should succeed Tony. That was without question in our minds, Jim Irsay and myself, Jim Caldwell.

"The fact that he was the object of some consideration by some other teams wasn't lost on us. We thought that without question he was the person that we felt best qualified to succeed Tony if and when, and I underline if and when, that time should come.

"So we and Jim (Caldwell) are mutually and contractually committed that Jim will be the head coach when and if the time comes that Tony (Dungy) decides he doesn't want to do it any more. As I said, I hope that's long past the time that I'm not here. I hope to watch it on television when that time comes. Tony will be back as we said this morning when we discussed what the calendar would be going forward, he'll be here more than he was last year because winning the Super Bowl took him away from Indianapolis to fulfill various and sundry functions that had to do with representing the Colts and being the first African American coach to ever to win the Super Bowl. It took him away a lot more than he'll be away this year.

"He's back 100 percent. We just completed our first day of coaching staff meetings and personnel review, which will be ongoing, and there won't be any change whatsoever in how Tony (Dungy) functions or how the staff functions. That will be the same as it's been every year.

"The only change will be that Jim (Caldwell) is named associate head coach and will give him the opportunity to be involved intimately in more of the decision-making process. As he goes forward, he will understand how we reach decisions, how we organize the franchise, how we manage the salary cap. All the things that a head coach has to know, he'll have the opportunity to be intimately involved in that, have a voice in it and learn how the process works.

"But ultimately, Tony (Dungy) will make the calls as he always has. The long and short of all of this is that it's the same process that we've gone through for three years. We formally named Jim (Caldwell) as Tony's successor if and when that time comes. Tony's (Dungy) back, committed 100 percent to achieving the goal that we achieved last year, but want to do again, which is to be world champions.

"We were sad, it's safe to say I think, for the past week, including yesterday because we wanted to be playing, but we aren't. But we're happy today because all of us, all of the four people (Jim Irsay, Bill Polian, Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell) that you see seated here and everyone else behind this backdrop who works for the Colts, is 100 percent committed behind Tony, Jim and the coaching staff to go forward and put the best possible team we can on the field next year."


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