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OVERHEARD // What others are saying about new Bucs coach Tony Dungy:

Ex-Steelers coach Chuck Noll:

"I think hiring Tony is a great choice. He's a very bright person who has great football awareness. Tony will be a players' coach. He has had experience on both sides of the ball, and he therefore has an appreciation of both offense and defense. When I coached Tony as a player, he was always very meticulous in his preparation. He had been a quarterback in college, but we moved him to the defense. In a game (against Houston) in his rookie year, our two quarterbacks got hurt, and Tony went into the game at that position with virtually no preparation and did a great job. As a player, he always displayed a great head for the game . . . that's why I had no problem hiring him as an assistant coach when he was only 25 years old."

Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer:

"Tony Dungy is an excellent football coach. He probably does as good a job as any I've been around dissecting an opponent's offense. He did an excellent job while he was with us _ and particularly with the Minnesota Vikings _ in establishing their ability to defend not only the run but also the pass. I would fully expect that Tony will do a fine job with the Buccaneers."

Vikings coach Dennis Green:

"We'll miss Tony tremendously because he's had a great deal to do with our success here the past four years. We are all very proud. We're all extremely happy that Tony has a chance to coach in the NFL. Adding a coach of the fine caliber of Tony Dungy will make the division even more competitive in 1996. Look for a five-team race in 1996."

Bucs linebacker Hardy Nickerson:

"I think Tony will make a great addition to the organization. He brings with him a lot of maturity and football knowledge. I really enjoyed my years with him at Pittsburgh and hated to see him leave (in 1989). I had some real good memories of those days. I'd enjoy the opportunity to work with him again. He's a great guy who makes you understand that you perform at your best or you're out. It's great playing for a guy like Tony. He's a true professional who doesn't need to hoot and holler to get his point across. He's a man with a lot of moral character who always lets you know where you stand with him."

Bucs quarterback Trent Dilfer:

"From everything I've heard, Tony is the definition of a players' coach. His players respect him from the utmost. He's got a reputation for treating you like a person, not just a football player. He's everything people say a coach should be and a man of great integrity. I'm excited for the organization because this is another step the Glazers have taken on the road to making this a playoff-caliber team. I've always thought that Tony's defensive units were always extremely well prepared. He keeps things so simple in order for players _ especially young players _ to have confidence in their assignments and perform well. Every year it seems young players are able to step in and excel in his defensive systems."

Bucs linebacker Lonnie Marts:

"I had two years with him while I was at Kansas City. He's a great guy to work for. He's a no-nonsense guy who never uses intimidation as a coaching tactic. He's more than a coach he's a teacher. I have all the respect in the world for Tony Dungy. Guys want to win for him. When I was at K.C., I learned so many things about the game of football from him. I used to enjoy just talking to him person-to-person. We should see a change (in the team's performance) right away. After working with him, I would've followed Tony anywhere he went as a head coach."

Bucs safety Todd Scott, who played for Dungy at Minnesota:

"Without a doubt, Tony is the best coach I ever played for. He's not just the best coach, but one of the best men I've ever been around. Coach Dungy taught me a lot about life, not just football. Tony is very deserving of this opportunity, which is long overdue. With the talent we have on this team and Tony's defensive schemes and work ethic, we are instantly playoff contenders."

_ RICK STROUD

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