Tony Dungy hasn't coached in the NFL for four years, but this hasn't led to any rust settling in on his motivational game. The former Buccaneers and Colts head man still has it.
The latest example of Dungy's motivation prowess comes from the Michigan Wolverines. As the Detroit Free Press' Mark Snyder reported, Dungy was brought in by Michigan coach Brady Hoke to talk to his group of young men leading up to the Outback Bowl.
As Snyder reported, Dungy spoke to the Wolverines on several topics, and they certainly weren't all football related. Dungy's message hits on far broader aspects of life.
Snyder passed along this quote from defensive lineman Craig Roh on Dungy's speech:
The thing about Tony Dungy is he puts everything in perspective. Football really is just a game.... If you get too wrapped up in achievements, it will ultimately fail you. ...Ultimately it's serving people, the people around you.
Snyder and Kyle Meinke of mlive.com passed along accounts from several Wolverines and it quickly becomes clear that, while listening to the exact same speech, these young men took away different and personal messages.
For example, linebacker Jake Ryan's take on the speech is far different than Roh's. Here is Ryan, on what he took away from the speech, in a quote captured by Snyder:
Don't be ordinary. Be your own person. Start something yourself. Just come through with it.
In the varied responses, we see a glimpse of Dungy's talent. He's spreading a positive and personally empowering message that that people are going to be drawn to for their own reasons. Dungy does not present his message in a way that is only catered to people with his same beliefs, or any other specific part of the population.
He is presenting his message in a way that is accessible to all.
Of course, while Dungy hasn't been in coaching for a while, he has been keeping his motivational chops polished. Besides his work as an analyst on NBC, Dungy takes on other speaking gigs.
Dungy's reputation earned as a coach and the respect he has garnered off the field have given him a high profile. Now he is parlaying that fame to help spread a positive message and he is clearly doing it well.
While Michigan fell in their bowl game to South Carolina after Dungy talked to them, the 33-28 score was closer than many predicted. Combine the Wolverines strong performance with the positive reaction by the team, and Dungy could very well have a very busy schedule when the next bowl season rolls around.