Thursday, December 14, 2017
Events

Tony Dungy drafts Jeff Foxworthy, Michael W. Smith for Tampa charity benefit

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy and Christian music superstar Michael W. Smith will lend their talents to a benefit for Family First, a national marriage and parenting nonprofit organization based in Tampa.

And it's all thanks to Tony Dungy's wide circle of acquaintances.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame coach said it didn't take much to get Smith, a multi-platinum selling Grammy winner, and Blue Collar Comedy Tour founder Foxworthy to donate their time for Thursday's benefit at the Straz Center in Tampa.

"It's great when you have friends like that who will get involved because they believe in the cause of parenting and values," Dungy said during a recent stop in Tampa. The NBC football analyst was back home visiting a school to support All Pro Dads, the charity he started in 1997 through Family First.

The former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach and current NFL commentator, who earned his Super Bowl ring with the Colts before retiring from coaching, still spends his days coaching, he says, only now it's dads he's drilling.

As a father of 10 with seven still living at home, Dungy knows the challenge of carving out family time.

"I've got a job where I'm gone 18 weekends in the fall," he said. "But I'm here during the week and I have summers off and the boys are getting old enough I can take them up to the NBC studios with me on the weekends."

His organization sends out a "Play of the Day" email support to more than 40,000 subscribers, and more than 1,500 chapters of All Pro Dad at schools and community centers around the country offer dads special outings or lunch dates with their kids.

And that wide circle of friends in pro and college football has helped bring sports stars and coaches to All Pro Dads Fathers & Kids days in local stadiums. Earlier this year, an event in Tallahassee featured Dallas quarterback Tony Romo and former Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward. On Nov. 5, Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald will be among the dads at Raymond James Stadium. Families will play games and get practical fatherhood tips for a $25 day.

Today's busy dads "have to realize that it's not the big events, not taking a kid to Disney World that has the biggest effect," Dungy said. "It's being there on an ongoing basis doing the little things that make a difference.

"I think about the things I remember about my dad and wasn't anything big. Just playing ball and playing catch and teaching me how to play golf and taking me to his office that stand out in my mind more than a big vacation or gift."

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.

   
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