Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tony Dungy gets inspiration from readers

Tony Dungy signs his latest book, Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance, for former Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster at Ave Maria Christian gift store Saturday.

KEVIN SMETANA | Times

Tony Dungy signs his latest book, Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance, for former Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster at Ave Maria Christian gift store Saturday.

BRANDON — Be bold.

That's the lesson Ilene Stubbs learned from Tony Dungy, and she says it helped save her husband's life.

In August, Fred Stubbs suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. The doctor said he probably wouldn't make it, but Ilene believed otherwise.

"I looked at the doctor and said, 'I'm going to pray that you're going to have wisdom beyond what you know, and you're going to be amazed at the results,' " she said. "I think Tony speaking out so boldly gives other Christians that opportunity to know they need to speak boldly."

Today, Fred is walking with a cane.

"I truly believe (that) because I spoke boldly to that doctor, he went in and tried just a little bit harder," said Stubbs, one of several hundred Dungy fans at Ave Maria Christian gift store in Brandon on Saturday getting the former NFL coach's autograph.

Dungy, the Bucs' coach from 1996 to 2001, remains an icon in Tampa Bay for his community outreach work, Christian beliefs and calm demeanor. At Ave Maria, he engaged in conversations with fans, shook their hands and thanked them for coming out.

"There's no made-for-television with this guy," said former Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster, a Brandon resident and one of the first in line Saturday. "He's genuine. He's inspirational."

With co-author Nathan Whitaker at his side, Dungy was promoting his latest book, Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance. He also signed copies of his 2007 New York Times best seller, Quiet Strength and his children's book, You Can Do It!

Dungy said hearing people like Ilene Stubbs tell their stories of how he and his books have influenced them is gratifying.

"You go into football hoping to help young men become better players and better people," said Dungy, who recently retired after seven seasons with the Colts. "You hope to have an impact on the guys on your team, but to hear people say the book helped them, that does make me feel good."

Dozens of autograph seekers brought their kids so they could meet a man described by many as the ideal role model for his involvement in charities, including All Pro Dad and the Boys and Girls Club.

"It's a great family moment to see a man of character," said Valrico resident Norman Harris, while waiting in line with his wife and three kids. "For the kids, it's just a great lesson for them."

Once the Harrises reached the front of the line, Dungy let 8-year-old Jake and 6-year-old Henry try on his Super Bowl ring from the Colts' 2006 season.

"It just touched my heart to have somebody with such integrity and such character and faith appreciate my children," their mother, Jessica Harris, said.

Jeanine Johnson, of Valrico, brought her 11-year-old son, Noah, to meet Dungy because he is a "strong example" of how to live a family life. She plans on discussing Uncommon with her son as he reads it while approaching his teenage years.

"There are negative sports figures out there, and it's too bad that our young people look up to them," she said. "So I think this is a refreshing change."

Noah got a compliment from Dungy for his retro, creamsicle Mike Alstott jersey.

"He's a good person," Noah said. "He's really respectful, especially to his (former players). I wish he would have kept coaching instead of retiring now."

Dungy has been busy since retiring, doing 13 book signings in eight days. He said he believes it was the right time to leave the game, but wouldn't rule out a return to the NFL.

"I never would have foreseen myself writing books, and here I am, so I guess I can't close any doors," said Dungy, who is back living in Tampa. "But really I see myself doing other things."

Kevin Smetana can be reached at ksmetana@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2439.

Tony Dungy gets inspiration from readers 02/09/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 4:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. No toll lanes north of downtown Tampa in three of four interstate proposals

    Transportation

    TAMPA — Express lanes may not be coming to downtown Tampa after all. Or at least not to the stretch of Interstate 275 that goes north through Bearss Avenue.

    Seminole Heights resident Kimberly Overman discusses the new interstate options with V.M. Ybor resident Chris Vela (left), Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp and HNTB consultant Chloe Coney during a Tampa Bay Express meeting Monday night at the Barrymore Hotel. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON  |  Times]
  2. Pinellas grants St. Pete's request to add millions to pier budget

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    The Pinellas County Commission has granted St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman's request to dedicate millions more toward the city's new pier.

    The St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday  voted 7-1 to appropriate $17.6 million for the over-water portion of the Pier District. This is a rendering of what the new Pier District could look like. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  3. Man injured when small helicopter crashes into Odessa home

    Accidents

    ODESSA — A small manned helicopter crashed into the roof of a house in northwest Hillsborough County on Monday, injuring a pilot, officials said.

    Rescuers respond to a crash of a small helicopter on the roof of a home in the Odessa area on Monday. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  4. State investigation cites multiple failures in death of Largo child

    News

    LARGO — It was sweltering in the bedroom of the Largo mobile home the day a child welfare case manager visited in July.

    Liz Rutenbeck, 24, poses with her son William in a Facebook photo. Baby William Hendrickson IV died while his mother was in jail after police said his father left ihim in a sweltering room.  A state investigation into the boy's death found multiple failures on the part of the child welfare system.
  5. 'Siesta Key' star punched in face, not sure who did it

    News

    TAMPA —Alex Kompothecras, cast member on MTV's reality show "Siesta Key," tells police he was punched in the face outside a bar in Tampa's SoHo district.

    Alex Kompothecras, Juliette Porter, Pauly Apostolides, Madisson Hausburg, Chloe Trautman, Garrett Miller, Kelsey Owens and Brandon Gomes pose for a photo in Siesta Key in June before the debut of the MTV reality series Siesta Key. [
EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]