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Monday, January 12, 2009
One big reason not to like Dungy departure

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Argue about his postseason effectiveness all you like.

Here is the worst thing about the departure of Tony Dungy from the NFL coaching business: It's a copycat league, and there is one less good guy with success to be copied.

I know for most fans the ends justify the means and that means a coach can be nasty if he's winning. The current final four -- Ken Whisenhunt and Andy Reid, Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh -- are a good group, not overridingly irritable or angry.

But losing Dungy from the fraternity hurts.

I'm for coaches who say hello to the janitor, maybe know his name, not for ones who make it clear they don't have time for a simple nod in the hallway that can make the smallest person in the organization feel relevant instead of as if he lives on the other side of a moat from the team's figurehead.

Dungy looked everyone in the eye, cared about human connection, had the unwavering respect of the people who worked for him and worked for his team.

I suspect successor Jim Caldwell will work to build a similar M.O., but he starts from nowhere.

Until at least Feb. 1, there is only one coach in the AFC who's won a Super Bowl (only three in the whole league), and that one hardly qualifies as an easy-going model to follow. Bill Belichick has actually won three.