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michael89156

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: November 16, 2012, 12:22:43 AM



Tony Dungy surprises students at Pride Elementary

 By Dong-Phuong Nguyen, Times Correspondent
 In Print: Friday, November 16, 2012





Former Bucs coach Tony Dungy speaks to students Thursday at Pride Elementary School during the Great American Teach-In.
[LORI FARMER | Special to the Times]
 

 


[EVE EDELHEIT | Times]
Teacher Lori Farmer shows the note that Tony Dungy left on her car after he thought he scraped it in a church parking lot.
 
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NEW TAMPA

 Fifth-grader Sam Tkacik walked into the Pride Elementary School cafeteria Thursday morning for the Great American Teach-In and got a shock.

The speaker was Tony Dungy, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach.

"What is he doing here?" Sam thought. "He should be on SportsCenter or something."

The story of how Dungy ended up at this suburban elementary school dates back nine months to a dinged car in a church parking lot. And it only burnishes the image that has made him a beloved local figure.

In early February, Lori Farmer, a gifted education teacher at Pride, left services at Grace Family Church in Lutz and found a note on the windshield of her red Mazda CX7:

"I scraped your car backing in. So Sorry. Please call me if we don't see you after church," the note said.

Farmer was slightly bummed. Then she read the name.

It was signed Tony Dungy, along with a phone number. She wondered if someone was playing a trick on her. She knew Dungy, who coached the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl title and is now an NBC football analyst, attended her church because she often saw him and his family there. Despite her kids' pleas to seek an autograph, Farmer would not allow them to bother them.

She turned over the note, which was written on a scrap of paper bearing details of a flight to Indianapolis. Maybe it was real.

Farmer inspected her car, which happened to bear a lot of scuffs.

"I didn't see anything," she recalled. "All the dings kind of blended together."

So Farmer texted Dungy, telling him not to worry about the scrape. He responded right away via text, insisting that he pay for the damage.

She couldn't discern the dings and told him so. But he texted back that it didn't feel right.

So she made him an offer: Visit students at Pride during the Great American Teach-In, a day when adults talk to children about their professions, and they would be even.

He thought it sounded like a fair trade and accepted.

Right before school started in August, when the date for the Teach-In was released, Farmer texted Dungy a reminder.

It took him a little time to get back with her because of his busy schedule, but last week, they confirmed his visit.

When Dungy arrived, teachers whipped out their cellphones and took pictures of him as he walked through the halls. For most elementary-age kids, Dungy was a coaching great before their time. But not for 11-year-old Sam, a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Dungy played defensive back for the Steelers' 1978 Super Bowl championship team.

Dungy coached the Bucs from 1996 to 2002, turning around a moribund football franchise. He remains arguably the most popular coach in team history.

At Pride, Dungy addressed a group of third-, fourth- and fifth- graders. He spoke of the importance of getting a good education, of being themselves and about reaching their goals.

Then he posed for pictures with everyone who wanted one.

"He has proven that he has great character and integrity," said Pride principal Cindy Land. "He . . . kept his word. This is precisely what our students need to learn from in our community."

Dungy, who has visited area schools for various occasions mainly at his own children's schools had never participated in the Teach-In.

"It was a win-win situation for me," he said later. "It was something I knew I would enjoy and also help them out."

Both of Dungy's parents were teachers, and his wife is a former educator.

"I understand how getting people in to help the teacher in the school day is really important," he said. "It was fun doing it. I'm sorry I had to run into her car to facilitate it."

Later, he came up with ways he could have made the experience much more exciting. But he's not divulging any details.

He plans to unveil them next year when he returns to Pride.

Benchwarmer#1

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#1 : November 16, 2012, 07:13:05 AM

Eh, he was probably being watched. Still, nice what he did at the school though.

Naismith was right about Revis. Everyone else is a dummy.

Jack Rabbit Slim

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#2 : November 16, 2012, 07:39:10 AM

Dungy = Class Act

I've had the pleasure to meet him a few times and he always seems to find the time to talk to someone, even if it's for only 5 minutes


QaZ

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#3 : November 16, 2012, 08:09:16 AM

Nice dialectic.
Wonder how this article would read if the author had other prejudices; Reckless driving, hit'n'run, another celebrity abusing his popularity to get an examption come to mind here. I guess the teacher (having to ) remind(ing) him would be proof of him trying to bail out of his 'deal'.

But yes, Dungy is a nice guy, we need more of.

tatmanfish

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#4 : November 16, 2012, 02:37:36 PM

Nice dialectic.
Wonder how this article would read if the author had other prejudices; Reckless driving, hit'n'run, another celebrity abusing his popularity to get an examption come to mind here. I guess the teacher (having to ) remind(ing) him would be proof of him trying to bail out of his 'deal'.

But yes, Dungy is a nice guy, we need more of.

Eh, he was probably being watched. Still, nice what he did at the school though.

wow, just wow. cant believe people dont have any faith in simple goodwill to the point they have to suggest ulterior motives.



Quote from: Illuminator
You were simply too smart for me.

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#5 : November 16, 2012, 02:46:13 PM

Um, leaving a note with your contact info is not hit n run. Insisting that you pay for damages even when the car owner says no problem is not ducking your responsibilities. Receiving a reminder about a commitment and then confirming is not ducking your responsibilities.

And with the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Teddy Bridgewater, Quarterback, Louisville.

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#6 : November 16, 2012, 02:56:35 PM

Dungy is a great human being. I wish he could've won a SB here


TebowTimeBucFan

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#7 : November 16, 2012, 03:20:00 PM

Eh, he was probably being watched. Still, nice what he did at the school though.

Says the dee bag who actually is "watched" ...clown.




 
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Benchwarmer#1

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#8 : November 16, 2012, 04:32:57 PM

Eh, he was probably being watched. Still, nice what he did at the school though.

Says the dee bag who actually is "watched" ...clown.

I'm not sorry I offended you jav...I mean tebowturdsaintsfan.

Besides, I never said Alternative motives either btw, I said people might have been watching. He's smart to know that, unlike so many players today. He Just announced himself being there, on stage. You had better believe people were watching when he left. It has nothing to do with honesty, that's just flat fact. Maybe he would have done the same when people weren't looking, idk, but the guy seems nice enough and rich enough to afford to be honest.

Naismith was right about Revis. Everyone else is a dummy.

QaZ

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#9 : November 16, 2012, 04:57:56 PM

Um, leaving a note with your contact info is not hit n run. Insisting that you pay for damages even when the car owner says no problem is not ducking your responsibilities. Receiving a reminder about a commitment and then confirming is not ducking your responsibilities.

Technically it is, but by the teacher calling him instead of the cops there probable will never be a case...nullo actore, nullus iudex.

If anyone thinks i have an issue with Dungy (here), you misread my sarcasm, i just wanted to point out how another author might have told another story about the same case. Thumby up for Dungy and the author; feel good story.

If Talib would be considered a nice guy(he gave enough reason to doubt this general assumption), he prolly might have been praised for risking his own life protecting his sister from a criminal that abused her in the past.

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#10 : November 16, 2012, 05:08:26 PM

Must sucked to be watched on here.




 
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#11 : November 16, 2012, 09:30:34 PM

Nice dialectic.
Wonder how this article would read if the author had other prejudices; Reckless driving, hit'n'run, another celebrity abusing his popularity to get an examption come to mind here. I guess the teacher (having to ) remind(ing) him would be proof of him trying to bail out of his 'deal'.

But yes, Dungy is a nice guy, we need more of.

Eh, he was probably being watched. Still, nice what he did at the school though.

wow, just wow. cant believe people dont have any faith in simple goodwill to the point they have to suggest ulterior motives.




+1


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