This was a nice April Fools joke for my son, who is at Taylor. He didn’t fall for it, but at least one radio station did. They caught it moments before making it their lead story. If you were tricked by this, I’d like to say, “I’m sorry” but I can’t…. I’m actually delighted. ~Steve
Former Colt Coach Dungy leads Taylor to a new season
April 1, 2008
BY April Furst
UPLAND – Taylor University’s football team is going to have an NFL influence on the sidelines next season. Taylor University is a private, interdenominational, evangelical Christian college housing over 1,854 students.
Tony Dungy who was a head coach in the NFL from 1993 through 2007, recently joined the Taylor Trojans as the team’s head coach.
Dungy had been a coach with the Indianapolis Colts football team since 2001, but said he decided to resign from his position at Indianapolis only two days before receiving an offer to coach at Taylor.
“I came and visited Taylor and felt like this is where God wanted me,” Dungy said. “I like the campus, the kids and the coaching staff.”
Dungy spent his first NFL season with the Steelers — his most satisfying NFL experience, where he played defensive secondary and even played at the quarterback position when the Terry Bradshaw and all the backups were knocked out of the game. According to Taylor, Dungy’s work with the Colts more than qualifies for the Trojans position. Dungy’s familiarity with the state of Indiana helped in the decision to bring him on board.
“I felt like Dungy was a good fit for what we needed here at Taylor,” Habecker said. “His experience with the Steelers was the most important factor in our consideration of selecting him as our head coach.
Dungy will begin working with the Trojans during spring practice this month and, although he has just arrived on campus today, he already has developed strong relationships with his players.
“I like to know all my players personally. I will give them evaluations and tell them what I think they need to work on this summer for us to be competitive this upcoming season,” Dungy said. “I’ve seen some special guys on this team and I know how hard they work.”
Dungy added that he believes his status as a former NFL player and coach can inspire his players and helps encourage them to pay attention to his advice. He acknowledge that while his NFL coaching history is impressive to the fans and media, it was really his time spent in Pittsburgh that made him the success he is today.
“(Coach Dungy) is going to demand a lot out of us,” running back Jordon Fee said. “But you never really have to question if he knows what he’s talking about because he’s been there. It’s nice to have that experience.”
“Since (Coach Dungy) played in the (NFL), you’ve got a certain level of respect for what he’s got to say,” senior defensive back J. Kezzlar said. “He’s been places you want to go or haven’t been yet and it makes you want to listen.”
While Dungy said his experience and familiarity with the one-back offense would help the team, he said his main goal with the Trojans is to make a positive, lasting impact on the lives of his players.
“God has put me in a position where (players) will listen, and I’m trying to help them mature mentally,” Dungy said. “Football prepares men to be able to get up when they get knocked down. It’s about kids having confidence in themselves.”
Asked if there was anything he’d rather be doing, Dungy paused and said with a sense of nostalgia, “Yeah — I wish I could play for the Steelers once more.”
It surely is a happy April Fools Day in Upland, IN.