March 8, 2022

Colts establish coaching fellowship in Tony Dungy's honor

Former Indianapolis Colts' head coach Tony Dungy is honored during halftime of an NFL football game between the Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Colts have established the Tony Dungy Diversity Fellowship to advance the opportunities for football coaching candidates.  - (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

Former Indianapolis Colts' head coach Tony Dungy is honored during halftime of an NFL football game between the Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Colts have established the Tony Dungy Diversity Fellowship to advance the opportunities for football coaching candidates.

(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis Colts have established the Tony Dungy Diversity Fellowship to advance the opportunities for football coaching candidates.

The program in honor of the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach, announced Monday by the Irsay family that owns the Colts, will provide the team with access to talented coaches while fostering and expanding the team’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Dungy is one of the sport's most outspoken voices on the need for more diversity and inclusion.

“I am thrilled that the Colts are seeking to help build diversity and inclusion in NFL coaching by launching this diversity fellowship coaching program,” Dungy said. “It’s a tremendous honor for me to be identified with the program. I applaud the Irsay family and the organization for taking this proactive step, and I hope it encourages other teams to look for ways to promote equal opportunities in the coaching ranks.”

Qualified candidates will be evaluated and interviewed by a selection committee composed of Dungy, the Irsay family, Colts general manager Chris Ballard and coach Frank Reich, and other members of the organization. As a part of the program, the Colts will hire a Dungy Fellow for the offense and the defense.

“We’re humbled and honored that Tony Dungy’s trailblazing accomplishments are also a part of our rich Colts history," Jim Irsay said, "but none of us can afford to rest on our laurels when it comes to advancing fairness and opportunity in the NFL’s coaching ranks. That’s why the Colts are so proud to create this fellowship in Tony’s honor that will help level the playing field for those who want to coach, teach and lead.”

The team also will continue to fill positions through the NFL’s Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, which provides coaches the opportunity to utilize training camps, offseason workout programs and minicamps to further their careers.

Dungy is the winningest head coach in Colts history and became the first Black head coach to win a Super Bowl, in 2007. Dungy, currently an analyst for NBC Sports, was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

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