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Tony Dungy was a 'third-generation’ coaching disciple of the late Don Shula

The former Bucs and Colts coach played and worked under the Steelers’ Chuck Noll, Shula’s defensive coordinator with the Colts .
Chuck Noll, left, and Tony Dungy, right, during their time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Chuck Noll, left, and Tony Dungy, right, during their time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. [ Times files ]
Published May 4, 2020
Updated May 4, 2020

TAMPA ― Tony Dungy never played or worked under Don Shula, but the NFL’s all-time winningest coach had a big impact on him.

When Dungy got his first head-coaching job with the Bucs in 1996, his offensive coordinator was Shula’s son, Mike.

Former Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Shula.
Former Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Shula. [ CLIFF MCBRIDE | Tampa Bay Times ]

The two worked together through the ’199 season, which ended with a loss to the St. Louis Rams in the NFC Championship Game.

Don Shula, who died Monday at age 90, was very supportive of Dungy in his early days as a head coach.

"Sad time, but he did so much for the game,'' Dungy said in a text to the Tampa Bay Times. “He talked to me a few times during my first couple of years and was always very supportive.”

Related: Don Shula, the winningest coach in pro football history, has died

Much of what Dungy did as a coach was influenced by Shula, as well.

Dungy played and coached under Chuck Noll, the four-time Super Bowl-winning coach of the Steelers. Noll was Shula’s defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Colts.

Then-Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Tony Dungy, right, watches film with then-head coach Chuck Noll in 1984.
Then-Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Tony Dungy, right, watches film with then-head coach Chuck Noll in 1984. [ GENE J. PUSKAR | Associated Press ]

“(Shula’s) impact on the game can’t be overstated,” said Dungy, who won one Super Bowl as a player with the Steelers and another as coach of the Colts. "So many people were impacted ― including me.

"I never worked under him, but a lot of Coach Noll’s philosophy and way of doing things was shaped by him. So I was somewhat like a third-generation coach of his.''

Here is what some other notable figures are saying about Shula: