'Hello. This is Tony Dungy calling.'
"In football, I always looked forward to those games on Sunday," the beloved former NFL coach says in a recorded message that has been ringing in the homes of nearly 200,000 Hillsborough students yesterday and today. (Sometimes more than once, some parents have complained. The district is looking into that glitch.)
"But the practices and the team meetings are just as important. That's where you learn. As a coach, I always expected my players to be there on time and ready to learn. It's the same with school. As parents we need to make sure our children are in school, on time and ready to learn."
District officials are especially eager to have kids show up this week, because it's the time when the state counts heads. (Not to mention it's FCAT writing test time.) Hillsborough has been losing students and the money that goes with them.
"It's funding, so it's important that everyone is there," spokeswoman Linda Cobbe told the Gradebook.
Coach Dungy did his part, not costing the district a penny for his time. He has a son in the district, Cobbe said, and he agreed to help out.