Tony Dungy

These quotes come from Tony Dungy’s book Quiet Strength (

  1. …when it’s over, it’s over – is part of football’s greatest appeal to me.  When a game ends, win or lose, it’s time to prepare for the next one.
  2. It’s the journey that matters.  Learning is more important than the test.  Practice well, and the games will take care of themselves.
  3. A good teacher is one who helps everybody earn an A. – Dr. Wilbur Dungy
  4. What’s important is not the accolades and memories of success but the way you respond when opportunities are denied.
  5. I need to treat everybody fairly but fair doesn’t always mean equal.
  6. And if God has given you a lot of ability, I believe you should be held to a higher level of expectation.
  7. Success is uncommon and not to be enjoyed by the common man.  I’m looking for uncommon people because we want to be successful, not average – Coach Cal Stoll
  8. If you want to win, do the ordinary things better than anyone else does – day in and day out.  – Coach Chuck Noll
  9. I was able to look at football as something that God was allowing me to do, not something that should define me.  I couldn’t take my identity from this sport.
  10. At the end of the day, the only people a One Voice doctrine silences are those who should be the most loyal.
  11. There are certain bridges that are not worth crossing, no matter what others think.  Loyalty and relationships are important.
  12. I needed to do my current job well, keep preparing, and wait on God’s timing.  I needed to trust His leadership rather than try to force an outcome I wanted.
  13. Winning would create greater potential for change than talk alone.
  14. I learned it doesn’t matter how you win.  You play to your team’s strength.
  15. Once we had become locked in on a schedule, he (Coach Denny Green) often created a disruption (artificial adversity) to that schedule just to see how guys would respond.
  16. We wanted guys who had been productive in college, and we made it a point to pick performance over potential.
  17. We only wanted to pay significant sums to keep truly special players.
  18. They were unwillingly to give 100 percent if they didn’t personally think it was important.  What you don’t understand is the champions know it’s all important.
  19. Watch the film, not the stopwatch. – Coach Chuck Noll
  20. I found that while life drags on when you’re losing, it marches on when you’re winning.
  21. We spent our whole married  life in the ultracompetitive world of professional football, Lauren and I had always tried to view it through God’s eyes.  As much fun as it was to be winning, we tried not to get caught up in it.  We knew that our family life and our faith walk were more important.
  22. God’s definition of success is really one of significance – the significant difference our lives can make in the lives of others.
  23. Excellence that feels is has to be proclaimed, by the mere fact of its proclamation admits the doubt of its existence. – CleoMae Dungy
  24. Once a player joins our team, our priority is to teach him, not worry about the player we didn’t select.
  25. If I can’t get the captains to respond appropriately and show the leadership I expect, how is anyone else going to respond?
  26. The best solution for falling just short of the goal is to focus on the fundamentals but perform them better.
  27. There’s a difference between making incremental improvements and making sweeping changes that take you away from your core values.
  28. We believed it was not our formations that made us good, but rather how we played.
  29. I hired top-notch people, trusted them to do their jobs, and then came to grips with the fact that I wouldn’t be coaching as much.
  30. Change isn’t always bad; we should always be learning and improving.  But the change I was seeing involved principles, not procedures.
  31. God allows us to feel pain for a reason: to protect us.
  32. Pain prompts us to change behavior that is destructive to ourselves or to others.  Pain can be a highly effective instructor.
  33. And as a football coach in the National Football League, I know for sure that it’s going to end someday.
  34. A good leader gets people to follow him because they want to, not because he makes them.
  35. I can’t very well preach unity and tell the guys we’re all in this together and everyone’s important, then cut a guy because we might improve by one percent if we bring in someone else.
  36. If we do what we do without panicking, we can accomplish great things.
  37. Football is a vocation and an opportunity for ministry.  But it’s not a life.
  38. Keeping ridiculous hours doesn’t mean you’ll be successful.
  39. At some point in life’s journey, professionally and personally, we have to be able to trust our preparation. 
  40. What’s important is not the uniform or the number, and it’s not what team you play for or whether anyone else sees your value; it’s who you are on the inside.  And when you’re in Christ, that’s never going to change.
  41. First, there is no typical grief cycle, and second, it’s not something I went through.  I’m still grieving.
  42. (Offensive Coach) Paul Hackett realized that Joe Montana knew more about “22 Z In” than he did, but when the meeting was over, Paul saw that Joe had taken three pages of notes.  He’s documented exactly how Paul wanted to run the play, as well as all of the basics of “22 Z In” and its details.  That’s what a professional does.
  43. Being stubborn is a virtue when you’re right; it’s only a character flaw when you’re wrong. – Coach Chuck Noll
  44. I love coaching football, and winning a Super Bowl was a goal I’ve had for a long time.  But it has never been my purpose in life.  My purpose in life is simply to glorify God.  We have to be careful that we don’t let the pursuit of our life’s goals, no matter how important they seem, cause us to lose sight of our purpose.  I coach football.  But the good I can do to glorify God along the way is my real purpose. 

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