More terrible new: Son of Colts' Coach Tony Dungy Found Dead

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Aug 17, 2005

"LUTZ, Fla. - James Dungy, the 18-year-old son of
Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, was found dead in a Tampa-area apartment, police said Thursday.

No foul play is suspected, but a cause of death won't be announced pending an autopsy, said Vida Morgan, a secretary in the Hillsborough County sheriff's office.

James Dungy's girlfriend found him when she returned to the Campus Lodge Apartments in Lutz, Fla., the sheriff's office said in a news release on its Web site. Police responded at 1:32 a.m. Thursday and performed CPR on Dungy before he was taken to University Community Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Tony Dungy has left the Colts and is in Tampa. The Colts (13-1) are at Seattle on Saturday, and team president Bill Polian said that assistant head coach Jim Caldwell has taken over for Dungy.

Indianapolis lost its first game Sunday against the visiting
San Diego Chargers, ending what had been a perfect season.

"The thoughts and prayers of everyone in this building are with Tony and (wife) Lauren, their children and their extended family, and for the repose of James' soul," Polian said at a news conference at the Colts' training facility in Indianapolis. "This is a tragedy for the Dungy family and by extension his football family here with the Colts."

Owner Jim Irsay and Polian met with team officials and players to break the news.

"It was not easy, and it was somber, to say the least," Polian said.

Caldwell will take over "for however long Tony will be away and however long he will be away is entirely up to him," Polian added.

Chaplains were brought in to talk with the team.

"I don't think there's anyone here that would wish to play a football game under these circumstances, but it's our obligation and we'll fulfill that obligation because that's what Tony wants us to do," Polian said.

The Dungys have four other children: daughters Tiara and Jade and sons Eric and Jordan. James, their second-oldest child, was taking extension classes at the University of South Florida, Morgan said.

James Dungy spent his senior year at North Central High School in Indianapolis and graduated this year. C.E. Quandt, the school's principal, said Dungy was a personable student who never flaunted his father's position.

"He just came in and tried to blend in and be a student," Quandt said. "I liked James a lot."

Quandt said Dungy visited North Central a week or two ago to pick up a transcript. He said the death surprised and saddened everyone at the school.

"It kind of diminishes our school family," he said.

James stood 6-foot-7 and was sometimes was mistaken for one of his father's players, The Indianapolis Star reported on its Web site. James and his younger brother, Eric, sometimes watched Colts games from the sidelines, but they had to earn it by doing well in school.

New York Jets coach Herman Edwards, one of Dungy's closest friends, called James a "very, very good kid.

"The whole family is good people. You know Tony, how he raised a family," Edwards said from Jets training camp in Hempstead, N.Y. "A tragedy. I know the prayers of the National Football League go out to him and his family."

Fans posted prayers and messages of support for Dungy, who also coached the
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, on a message board on a Colts fan Web site.

"Not only was he a great football coach for the Bucs, but he is an even better person," one Tampa Bay fan wrote. "It makes me sick that it happened at this time of year to a person that is so giving and caring."

Dungy took over as coach of the Colts in 2002. His first head coaching stint was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-2001; he was an assistant with the
Minnesota Vikings from 1992 to 1995.


Associated Press Writer Cliff Brunt in Indianapolis and AP Sports Writer Andrea Adelson in New York contributed to this report."

As a sports fan, this is beyond terrible news and material I do not like to read. That is simply too young to go. I really hope all that the Dungy family will be able to get through this bad loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Dungy family.