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Trailblazing Coach Dungy: Family, community service ‘imperative to life’s success’

Former NFL coach and Hall of Fame inductee Tony Dungy learned early in his career that to be successful, he would have to do more than just win football games – he needed to make a difference in his community.

That philosophy is what he says enabled him to lead the Indianapolis Colts to the NFL championship game in 2007 and become the first African-American professional football coach to win a Super Bowl, he told hundreds of Delta employees Wednesday.

"Never let your profession define you," Dungy said at the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta. "Making time for family and serving in your community are imperative to your life's success."

Dungy, the son of a Tuske​gee Airman and uncle of a Delta pilot, recalled his first meeting as a rookie player with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1977. Legendary head coach Chuck Noll told the team that if the team focuses on being good role models in the community, the field would take care of itself.

He would later apply those learnings to his own career when he became head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996.

"I said to my team, 'Ge​ntlemen, we're going to win – that's our job. But if all we do is win football games, it will be very short lived and it won't be meaningful," Dungy said. "So in addition to winning, we're going to make Tampa a better place to live and I'm going to challenge you to get involved with the community and do things that are going to be long-lasting.'" ​

After his football career, Dungy continued to follow through on that commitment. He discussed his non-profit All Pro Dads, which provides fathers with opportunities to spend quality time with their children with a goal of strengthening those all-important relationships.

Dungy recognized Delta employee Marc Berrien, Project Leader – Process & Technology Engineering, for being an All Pro Dad captain. At the end of the event, Joanne Smith, Delta's Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, presented Dungy with a $25,000 check to benefit his organization. "What you stand for, and your qualities and humility, are certainly things that we espouse at Delta," she told him.

Additionally, Dungy answered questions from a panel of employees involved with Delta's RISE mentoring program. He reminded attendees that a key quality of a leader is showing genuine concern for the team as individuals, not just focusing on their success as employees.

"The secret to success is good leadership, and good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members better," he said.

This event was sponsored by Delta's Global Diversity and Inclusion team in partnership with the Black Employee Network Business Resource Group. BEN works to engage the black employees to represent Delta in the various communities where they work and live.

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