Dungy's 18-year-old son found dead
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TRAVIS REED / Associated Press
Posted: 52 minutes ago
LUTZ, Fla - James Dungy, the 18-year-old son of Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, was found dead in his Tampa-area apartment early Thursday, the sheriff's office said.
No foul play is suspected, but a cause of death won't be announced pending an autopsy, said Hillsborough County sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.
James Dungy, (r.) the late son of Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, walked the RCA Dome sideline on Oct. 3. (Indianapolis Star, Matt Kryger / Associated Press)
James Dungy's girlfriend found him when she returned to the Campus Lodge Apartments at about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Carter said.
He wasn't breathing, and a sheriff's deputy performed CPR before an ambulance rushed him to University Community Hospital, Carter said. He was pronounced dead there.
Carter said "nothing evident" was amiss in the apartment, but declined to discuss details.
Tony Dungy has left the Colts and is in Tampa, where he coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996 to 2001. 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.
Jessica James, 18, a senior at Gaither High School in the northern suburbs of Tampa was a close friend of James Dungy. Dungy attended Gaither until his junior year, when he moved to Indiana.
She said the last time she had seen him was Monday night when a group of friends went to the movies.
"He was cracking jokes, just being himself. This morning, it was so surreal," when she heard news reports of his death. She added that she never detected anything troubling him that night.
She said Dungy "was just a really good kid, very laid back. Unless you asked him, you'd never know he was Tony Dungy's son."
She said the worked one summer together at a YMCA camp and the children "absolutely loved him."
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.
A woman who answered the door at James Dungy's girlfriend's home declined comment Thursday.
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.
The mood was also somber at the Buccaneers' practice facility Thursday, which is next to the airport where the Colts' plane that brought Tony Dungy to Florida was parked for a time. Players and coaches could see it from the field.
James Dungy was a frequent visitor to the Bucs' practices and games when his dad coached the team.
"He was here all the time, hanging out in the locker room and with the players on the field," fullback Mike Alstott said. "If James wasn't here, it was like: `Where's James?' He was part of this football team.
"There's no words to describe it. I'm a father of three and I can't imagine getting a phone call or being told that."
"I really don't know what to say. All I can say is we're praying for him," said Jon Gruden, his successor as Bucs coach. "It's just awful. ... I just can't imagine it."
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."
Dungy took over as coach of the Colts in 2002. He was an assistant with the Minnesota Vikings from 1992 to 1995.
Two other NFL head coaches lost close family members this season, both in November. Don Parcells, brother of Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, died of brain cancer in New Jersey at age 62; Steve Belichick, father of New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick, died at 86.
Associated Press Writers Mitch Stacy in Tampa and Cliff Brunt in Indianapolis and AP Sports Writer Andrea Adelson in New York contributed to this report.
sure sounds like a suicide. Too bad for Tony, he is a great coach I would think his kid would have turned out better than that