TERRE HAUTE —
Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy was back in Terre Haute Wednesday, not to talk about football — but to share insights on how to have a happy, long-lasting marriage.
He and his wife, Lauren, were at the Terre Haute Sam’s Club at noon to autograph copies of their new book, “Uncommon Marriage: Learning about Lasting Love and Overcoming Life’s Obstacles Together.”
The Dungys have been married 31 years and are the parents of nine children. They are visiting several Indiana cities this week as part of a multi-state book tour.
Dungy is no stranger to Terre Haute. He visited the community seven summers in a row when the Colts formerly had their training camp at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.
Dungy said he was happy to make a return trip here. He always enjoyed training camp, he said. “I feel that’s where you build your chemistry and do your bonding” as a team.
“It was always nice for us to come here to Rose-Hulman. We had the opportunity to jell together,” he said. He was looking forward to seeing fans who used to attend Colts camp at Rose-Hulman.
“It’s going to be fun today,” he said.
Dozens of people stood in line waiting to purchase books, and both Tony and Lauren Dungy signed each one.
In an interview, Lauren Dungy talked about what she and her husband view as “three Cs” to a strong marriage. There must be good communication, commitment and Christ in the middle, she said.
Tony Dungy said there are a lot of stresses that can pull a marriage apart, and even good things can challenge a marriage, including careers and children. “You have to really be conscious of drawing close together,” communicating and doing fun things together, he said.
Also, Lauren said, “We’ve found that having prayer in our lives is very important, and we need prayer daily,” she said.
Too often, couples take the easy way out when things get tough and get a divorce, Lauren Dungy said. “Society says you can just check out and move on,” she said. “We’re not encouraged to fight together and work together.”
But even the best marriages have their share of challenges, she said. “It’s important that we fight to stay together and work through those difficulties,” she said.
Through their new book, “Uncommon Marriage,” “we want to encourage readers to do just that — to hang in there and get through those tough times,” she said.
They decided to write the book because they’ve learned a lot in their 31-year marriage and they want to share that insight and encourage others in their marriages.
Also, the publisher, Tyndale Momentum, approached them about the book, Tony Dungy said. “It’s been well-received so far,” he said.
Among those who stood in line was Teresa Kenmuir of Shelburn. “We’re Tony Dungy fans,” she said. Dungy was the Colts coach who “took us to the Super Bowl” in 2007, she said.
She bought four books, including one for a daughter who is getting married and another for her pastor.
Dungy “is an inspiration,” Kenmuir said. Both Tony and Lauren Dungy “were very pleasant and very personable,” she said.
Also standing in line was Misti Corrigan, who told the Dungys, “You’ve been an inspiration to our family.” She purchased two books.
Corrigan’s husband, Joe, “thinks [Tony Dungy] is amazing,” especially the way Dungy always remained cool and calm as a football coach.
Conner Towne, an ISU student, purchased an autographed book for his brother, who will be celebrating a one-year wedding anniversary next month. “I’m a big fan of Tony Dungy,” he said. “I’m well aware of his career and his achievements.”
He was happy to be able to shake Dungy’s hand. “I enjoy the fact that he’s here with his wife and seems like a really great family guy,” Towne said.
Yvonne Russell had no idea Tony Dungy would be at Sam’s Club when she went. She’s a master gardener and was looking at gardening items when someone asked her if she was there to see Tony.
She said, “Tony who?”
But when she learned it was Tony Dungy, “I got excited. He’s a great guy,” she said.
Russell took photos of the Dungys, noting at one point, “I’m just kind of star-struck right now.” She wasn’t the only one.
Eventually, Russell got in line to buy the book and get some autographs. She also got her photo taken with the famous couple. “He’s a great role model,” she said.
When asked how Terre Haute and Sam’s Club became part of the Dungy’s book tour, Jim Behnke, Sam’s Club general manager, responded, “The way I understand it, Tony Dungy chose us. He’s always had a soft spot for Terre Haute with the Colts camp being here.”
Behnke said that to his knowledge, it was the first book-signing at the Terre Haute Sam’s Club during his 11-year tenure there. “He wanted to do it here,” Behnke said.
Sam’s Club allowed nonmembers in for the booksigning event.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or firstname.lastname@example.org.