Commentary

Tony Dungy is a class act

Updated: January 13, 2009, 1:10 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Tony Dungy is class personified.

He is a special person. Dungy never forgot where he came from, remembering his roots. He was a great basketball player out of the state of Michigan before going to college at Minnesota.

When you think about some of the things he achieved on the gridiron, it is incredible. He had six straight seasons with 12 or more wins. Dungy led the Bucs and Colts to the playoffs 10 straight years, also a record. His winning percentage ranks among the elite in league history.

Then you add on the Super Bowl ring, the first African-American coach to accomplish that.

Dungy is about a lot more than just those statistics. Sure, they stand out and explain his consistency as a winning coach.

More than the numbers, he has the respect of everybody he has ever worked with ... the players, his coaching staff, opposing coaches, the fans, the NFL hierarchy. He will be missed in coaching and you need more guys in sports like him.

Dungy is still a young guy and I feel that when you go away from the sidelines, ultimately you miss it. The juices start to flow, the competitive drive comes back and it stays with you. If there is one thing I miss about my career, you miss the incredible high from a great win.

You get such a high in the locker room and especially when you see your team mesh. A lot of guys don't get over that. I think you will see a guy like Bill Cowher and a Mike Holmgren come back. We will have to see if Dungy changes his mind one day.

For now, he has other goals off of the field, helping others and also spending time with his family.

My friends, Dungy will be missed. I am thrilled that he will be honored at the 2010 Dickie V gala in Sarasota, Florida raising funds for The V Foundation.

As I said, Tony Dungy is class personified, baby!

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.