Indianapolis lures Dungy with five-year deal

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2002

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tony Dungy didn't need much time to get a new job.

Eight days after being fired in Tampa Bay, Dungy reached an agreement in principle to coach the Indianapolis Colts and a formal introduction is expected Wednesday.

Colts president Bill Polian said in a statement that he and Dungy's agent, Ray Anderson, were working on the deal's final details.

''Both parties expect things will go smoothly,'' his statement said.

Polian was not available to take questions and a phone message left on Dungy's home answering machine in Tampa, Fla., was not immediately returned. Dungy had returned home after being in Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl earlier Tuesday, Anderson said.

Colts owner Jim Irsay said the team had reached a five-year contract with Dungy worth about $13 million. He said the Colts had engaged in a bidding war for Dungy with the Carolina Panthers.

''We weren't going to be outbid for Tony Dungy. He was going to be a Colt for sure,'' Irsay said.

Dungy will join the New York Jets' Herman Edwards as the only black head coaches in the NFL.

Dungy, 46, was fired by Tampa Bay last week. The Colts fired coach Jim Mora on Jan. 8, primarily because he refused to get rid of former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Fangio has since accepted the coordinator's post with the expansion Houston Texans.

Mora went 32-34 and took Indianapolis to the playoffs twice in four seasons. The Colts went 6-10 this season.

Dungy was the most successful coach in Buccaneers history, going 54-42 in six seasons and leading the team to the playoffs four times. The Bucs were 9-8 this season, including a loss to Philadelphia in the wild-card round.

But Dungy also fit the profile Polian wanted -- a defensive-minded coach whose system would work with young players. Polian believed Fangio's system was too complex for the Colts young defense.

Indianapolis had six first-time starters in its lineup last season and Polian said two weeks ago that the Colts could have four or five more new starters next season.

Polian also interviewed New York Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell and was reportedly interested in Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache. Cottrell also has interviewed with the Carolina Panthers and San Diego Chargers, his agent, Joe Linta, said Tuesday.

But Dungy's defenses ranked among the league's best throughout his tenure with the Buccaneers, including No. 1 rankings in 1998 and 2000.

The Colts defense ranked 29th in defense last season.



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