By Megan Seals
“Four years ago, I was on the sidelines of the Miami Super Bowl 41,” said Tony Dungy, former NFL coach. “I had a feeling during that day that I wouldn’t be coaching a whole lot longer. I felt that I would be doing something different, but I had no idea that doing something different would be reading to third-graders.”
Dungy was the keynote speaker for Union University’s third annual Roy L. White Legacy Golf and Gala, April 18, at the Carl Perkins Civic Center.
The banquet brought in about 1,500 people raising $375,000 for Union.
The event started with a golf tournament at the Jackson Country Club, where a team from MG Construction took first place.
Dungy and his wife, Laura Dungy, spoke on the importance of supporting Christian education and how adults need to be involved in the lives of America’s youth.
Prior to her husband’s speech, Mrs. Dungy talked about the importance of supporting Christian education.
“We have to trust God and let him go help us through the doubts and fears that we may have,” she said.
She also said that the United States was at a crossroads and Americans may have to go out of their comfort zones to make a difference in the lives of others.
“You never known what small steps can make a big difference in young people’s lives,” Dungy said.
Along with the importance of education and relationships with today’s youth, Dungy and his wife emphasized the importance of the youth being true to themselves and not following the crowd.
Tony gave a brief overview of his recent book “Uncommon.”
“It came straight from Matthew 7,” Dungy said about the theme of his latest book. “It is where Christ talks about the two roads — the small narrow gate and the wide gate with the big highway. So many people travel the big highway, but that wasn’t the way to salvation or to significance.”
“The message was telling our youth to not be afraid to stand out and be different,” he said. “Don’t just blindly follow the crowd. That’s the problem with kids today. They are getting a lot of messages from society and the media.”
Dungy gave some solutions to how adults in today’s society can help influence the youth so that they get the “total message.”
“We can counteract by knowing the truth, and don’t be afraid to share it with our young people,” Dungy said.
Following his speech, Dungy answered questions from Dr. David S. Dockery, university president, who asked him questions the audience had submitted prior to the event. One of the questions asked was how he managed to be successful at his professional level of NFL coach and continue to be a “nice guy.”
“Christ was a really nice guy, and he didn’t finish last,” Dungy said. “I felt that I could use God’s principles and he would allow me to succeed.”