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Former NFL coach talks resiliency

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Caleb Nunez
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

 As a kid, he sometimes complained to his father about day-to-day issues, but his dad's response back then still guides him today – What are you going to do to make the situation better?

Super Bowl-winning head coach and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Tony Dungy, spoke about resiliency and its role in suicide prevention to service members at MacDill Air Force Base, Oct. 24, 2018.

“As I grew up, that became the thought process in my mind when things didn’t go right,” Dungy explained. “Not to reflect on the negatives, but on how I can move forward and make the situation better.”

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts coach recalled various situations throughout his career where this thought process helped him through tough situations, from losing important games to getting fired.

“That’s the thing you learn in sports,” Dungy said. “I’m in that huddle with my wingmen around me and we aren’t going to let each other down. If we all have that [positive] attitude, we can bounce back from anything.”

Dungy built up this resiliency throughout his life and its strength was ultimately tested in 2005, when he got a phone call no parent should ever have to answer.

“Two days before Christmas I get a call at 4 o’clock in the morning from the police department in Tampa,” Dungy said. “The sergeant on the phone said, ‘We have a death we are investigating… It’s your son.’”

Since the passing of his son James, Dungy became an advocate for suicide awareness and prevention by spreading his skills in resiliency.

“That’s the message – we are all in this together,” Dungy exclaimed. “If we just think about how we can make the situation better, we can have resiliency. We can get through anything no matter the situation!”

Dungy’s words inspired over 500 joint, Total Force service members as he foot stomped the importance of being one team--one family.

“It was interesting to see the parallels between sports and the military,” said Senior Airman Orlando Meza, a 6th Air Mobility Wing command executive assistant. “It helped me reflect on my career and find motivation to always work hard, even during difficult times.”