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Coach Calm

Human Race | Colts' Tony Dungy puts faith to work on sidelines

Issue: "The surge is on," Feb. 3, 2007

If Tony Dungy were a presidential candidate, the Indianapolis Colts football coach might get pounded by critics for mixing his faith and work. But his low-key, humble manner seems to disarm even skeptical reporters who show grudging respect for his Christian faith and good works.

Dungy's faith contributed to his calm demeanor and steadfastness that helped the Colts overcome a record of past playoff failures and come back from a 21-6 halftime deficit to beat the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game: "The Lord just set this up. He's been testing us all year. We held the faith."

Dungy noted after the game that he and Chicago Bears Coach Lovie Smith are making history as the first African-American coaches to make it to the Super Bowl, but he thinks their shared faith in Christ is also important. "He's going to get there with a lot of class and no profanity," Dungy said about Coach Smith. "We can show that not only can an African-American do it, but also Christian coaches can do it."

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Off the field, Dungy lends his name and prestige to a number of charities, including the All Pro Dad organization. With adopted and birth children, Dungy knows the struggles that dads face in balancing work with family time: "You want to do a great job at both," he told WORLD last fall. "Logic tells you that you need more time at home, but reality is different."

Dungy and his wife Lauren have a senior in college and four at home, including a recently adopted son, 8 months old. They lost a son, James, 18, to suicide in December 2005. Dungy has talked occasionally of the deep pain from his son's death but has tried to see how God can use it for good. He said, "Make the present as good as you can make it, because you can't count on the future and you can't go back and redo the past."

Worldplay: Carter vs. Dershowitz

In a speech to students at Brandeis University, former president Jimmy Carter stood by the basic themes of his controversial book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, but apologized for one sentence "worded in a completely improper and stupid way" and said he had asked his publisher to change it immediately. The sentence, among statements in the book drawing criticism from Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and others, suggested Palestinian terrorism need not end until Israel withdraws from Palestinian territory. Carter said he remained "convinced that the withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces from Arab territories will dramatically reduce any threats to Israel." Dershowitz, who spoke in the same venue following Carter, told students: "You heard the Brandeis Jimmy Carter today, and he was terrific. I support almost everything he said. But if you listen to the Al Jazeera Jimmy Carter, you'll hear a very different perspective." The Jan. 23 event drew applause inside and student protesters outside at Brandeis, a university founded in 1948 under sponsorship of the American Jewish community.- Mindy Belz

Close-ups

KENNEDY: Evangelist D. James Kennedy remains hospitalized in stable condition, according to Coral Ridge Ministries spokesman John Aman, nearly a month after suffering cardiac arrest Dec. 28 and undergoing surgery. "He's continuing to receive treatment and progressing toward recovery," Aman told WORLD. "Our anticipation is he will return to his normal ministry duties-contingent on his health.

MOHLER: Southern Baptist Theological Seminary president R. Albert Mohler is "doing fine and he is back home," according to seminary spokesman Lawrence Smith. Abdominal surgery last month led to blood clots in the lungs that prolonged Mohler's hospital stay. The writer and radio show host is "currently easing back into his duties" said Smith, and has resumed his radio program.

Man knows not his time

Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt died at a Miami hospital after a lengthy bout with pneumonia Jan. 23. He was 88. The World War II vet, CIA officer, and spy legend behind a Guatemalan coup and the botched Bay of Pigs invasion won greatest notoriety as a Watergate burglar, even though he never entered the Washington complex that led to the greatest scandal in American political history and the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Russ Pulliam
Russ Pulliam

Russ is a columnist for The Indianapolis Star, the director of the Pulliam Fellowship, and a member of God's World Publications' board of directors.

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