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Posted October 31, 2013

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NFL Coach Inspires Bulldogs to Win On, Off the Field

Tony Dungy, the first African American coach to win a Super Bowl as coach of the Indianapolis Colts, attended a pep rally at Albuquerque High Thursday.

A spirited crowd of Bulldogs dressed as Super Heroes greeted Super Bowl-winning Coach Tony Dungy at Albuquerque High Thursday during a pep rally to motivate students to do their best on the field and, more importantly, in the classroom.

“I can honestly say my most enjoyable memories, the things I remember most, are from high school,” said Dungy, the first African American coach to win a Super Bowl, leading the Indianapolis Colts to victory in 2007.

Just as the Bulldogs’ football team teetered on a state-record for the most consecutive losses, Dungy shared stories of his own struggles as a player and coach. He remembered his high school team losing to a cross-town rival for the first time when he was a player, and taking over as head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the team lost 12 straight seasons.

“I can empathize with what you’re going through,” he told the green jersey-clad team and their fans, sharing  advice he gave to the Buccaneers: “You determine if we stay where we are or we improve. You have to take the challenge.”

Dungy was in town as a guest speaker at the fall conference of the Council of the Great City Schools. He also is a spokesman for Comcast’s Internet Essentials, a program that targets low-income families with school-age children and helps them get connected to the Internet by offering a combination of discounted broadband service, low-cost computers and free training programs to teach people how to use technology.

Thousands of students in Albuquerque Public Schools have taken advantage of the program, according to Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen. “You are one of our best partners,” he said.

Comcast and Dungy honored 10 essay contest winners during the pep rally, which also was attended by APS Board of Education members, high school principals and Superintendent Winston Brooks.

Brooks told students he had three favorite football teams: the Kansas City Chiefs, the only undefeated team in the NFL this season, and the Buccaneers and Colts because they were both coached by Dungy, a man with integrity and character.

Before meeting for a few minutes with the football team, Dungy talked to the crowd about expectations, execution, no excuses and no explanations. While winning on the field may seem important, he said, being a winner in life matters more. “No matter what happens tonight, come back tomorrow being winners.”

Slide Show: Tony Dungy at AHS

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