One More Coaching Vacancy: The Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts have scheduled a news conference for Monday afternoon during which Tony Dungy will announce his retirement after seven seasons as coach.

Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson told “SportsCenter” that the 53-year-old Dungy met with some players, including Jackson, on Monday to tell them he would be retiring.

“I let him know how great it was to play for him and what respect I have for him,” Jackson said.

When asked if he thought Dungy would one day coach again, Jackson said, “I think personally that Coach Dungy feels he has a higher calling.”

Jackson confirmed reports that Dungy talked his decision over with family members and they decided this was the best time for him to step aside.

The Colts have designated associate coach Jim Caldwell as Dungy’s eventual replacement. Caldwell has more than 20 years of college coaching experience including eight seasons as head coach at Wake Forest. He was the quarterbacks coach for the 2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Dungy before joining the Colts in that same capacity in 2002.

In 2005, the Colts added assistant head coach to Caldwell’s role before making him associate head coach last January.

Since winning the Super Bowl after the 2006 season, Dungy has thought long and hard each offseason about how much longer he really wants to work in the NFL. He said after the Colts’ overtime playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers in the AFC wild-card game nine days ago that he would spend about a week deciding whether to return for an eighth season as coach.

He spent much of that time in Tampa, Fla., where his wife, Lauren, and children moved full-time about a year ago. The Dungys had the week to contemplate his future with the Colts, but a trip to New York for son Jordan’s surgery on a broken leg occupied their time. Jordan Dungy is back home in Florida and doing well after surgery.

In Dungy’s 13 seasons as a head coach, including six with Tampa Bay, he’s put together a sparkling résumé.

He has 148 career wins, including playoffs, and ranks 19th all time in victories. He’s the only black coach to win a Super Bowl, the first coach in league history to reach the postseason in 10 consecutive seasons and the only coach to preside over six straight seasons of 12 wins or more.

Two years ago, Dungy acknowledged there was a temptation to retire after winning the Super Bowl, at a time when he also was grieving the loss of his 18-year-old son James, who committed suicide in December 2005.

Dungy pondered retirement again last January, but returned after Colts owner Jim Irsay agreed to make Caldwell the eventual successor and offered Dungy the use of a private jet to visit his family in Florida.

Dungy also has spoken recently about his post-football plans and his desire to work more with All-Pro Dads, the prison ministry and becoming a mentor to teenagers and young adults.

Credit: ESPN