On Saturday night, Tony Dungy, the first African-American head coach to win an NFL championship, gave a rousing Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech, acknowledging that he didn't get there on his own, and paying homage to 10 other coaches who came before him and made his path possible, ESPN reports.
"Willie Brown, Buck Buchanan, Earnel Durden, Bob Ledbetter, Elijah Pitts, Jimmy Raye, Johnny Roland, Al Tabor, Lionel Taylor and Allan Webb," Dungy said, calling out the names of the coaches to the crowd.
"Those names might not be familiar to you, but those were the African-American assistant coaches in the NFL in 1977, my first year in the league," Dungy informed his audience. "It was a small group of men—just 10 of them, if you can believe that—African-American assistant coaches in the NFL. Many of them never got the chance to move up the coaching ladder like I did, but they were so important to the progress of this league."
The former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave a nod to the men, who, he said, did not complain about the lack of opportunities they faced as black men and coaches, but instead just strove to find a way to make things better.
"We were in the ’80s, trying to decide if we could make a career in coaching or not. Without those 10 coaches laying the groundwork, the league would not have the 200-plus minority assistant coaches it has today. And we would not have had Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy coaching against each other in Super Bowl XLI," Dungy said.
"So tonight as I join Fritz Pollard as the second African-American coach in the Hall of Fame, I feel like I'm representing those 10 men and all the African-American coaches who came before me and paved the way. And I thank them very, very much," he added.
Read more at ESPN.