Jackson Pulling for Dungy

By: John Tramontana Email
By: John Tramontana Email

A three-sport athlete at what used to be Parkside High School in Jackson, many knew Tony Dungy was destined to become something great.

"It turns out he's just very special," said friend Russell Davis.

Davis is now the athletic director at Jackson High School, but before that he played against, with, and for Tony Dungy. Their paths first crossed in college and then in the pros where Davis and Dungy were first teammates in Pittsburgh before Dungy became his coach as defensive coordinator in the Steel City.

"He's always been an intelligent guy," Davis said. "He wasn't a guy that got into trouble. He was just clean and he was brilliant and his players recognize that fact."

On Sunday, Dungy can become to first African American coach to ever win a Super Bowl. A feat that would silence critics who say the former Parkside Eagle can't win the big one.

"He's in position to win the biggest athletic event in the world right now so he's in the right place at the right time," Davis added.

At Parkside Middle School where Dungy was once a student, teachers and students alike are donning the blue and white, pulling for the Colts and their hero.

"It's kind of great walking the same hallways as him," said 7th grader Jaylen McDonald. "He graduated with my grandpa and they were kind of best friends."

For the school, it's a chance to show the kids how education can take you far in life and that even students from a small city can make their dreams come true.

"It gives us talking points to students to say somebody who walked these hallways, sat in the same classrooms, grew up in the same neighborhoods are able to strive and meet their goals," preached 8th grade principal William Patterson.

There's now just one goal left in Dungy's distinguished career -- to bring home the Vince Lombardi trophy to Indianapolis and to a local community that will be pulling for their coach on football's grandest stage.


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