TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It has taken decades to build the Tampa Bay Buccaneers empire – and Hall of Fame Coach Tony Dungy played a major role.

In 1996, Tony Dungy was hired as the head coach of the Bucs. He was the first Black head coach the team ever had.

“At that time, there were no African-American head coaches. So it wasn’t like, ‘Yeah, I can do that,'” Dungy said. “It wasn’t just lack of African American coaches, but my style. I was soft spoken. I was a teacher. As a Christian, I wasn’t one of those guys that would yell and scream. I remember an owner telling me in an interview, ‘I don’t think your style will work in the NFL. I don’t think people are ready for that leadership.'”

However, the Tampa Bay Bucs were. He turned the program around in the late 1990s, taking the team to several playoffs. Despite community opinion, Dungy was fired after six seasons.

“It was tough,” Dungy said. “Was here six years. Our family was here, we loved it. To all of sudden say we are going in a different direction, we don’t really need you. We had to think about what we were going to do.”

Many across the Tampa Bay area were devastated to see Dungy leave, but another opportunity came knocking at the door. Dungy was then hired as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. He made history there in 2007 as the first Black NFL coach to win a super bowl.

It was an accomplishment Dungy never would have imagined, especially due to the racial climate when he was raised and his parents.

“He [Dungy’s dad] walked past all white schools to end up teaching in all Black schools,” he said. “We lived in basically an all Black section of Jackson, it was very very small. I can remember watching with my dad on a little black and white TV. George Wallace was governor of Alabama and he was stopping two African American students from entering the school. He said we will never have negro students at this school. I was probably 9 or 10 asking my dad what this is all about. He said there may be people who don’t like you because of what you look like, we don’t do that. We don’t treat people like that. We don’t respond that way, you do what God would want you to do and that’s be kind and courteous to everybody.”

Christianity and kindness translate in everything Dungy does even despite challenges thrown his way. In 2005, Dungy’s 18-year-old son died by suicide.

“Our son died at 18 and I think what that taught me was don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “Don’t think you will always have this time with anybody. You’ve got to live your life that way, you don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring.”

That is why he lives his life by putting his faith first. Throughout his life he has ministered to people in prison, continues to give back through his Tony Dungy Foundation with his wife, works with dads in the Tampa Bay area and more.

To accomplish what Dungy has accomplished is something he looks back on and still can’t believe it happened.

“When you think about it – that’s what brought tears to my eyes after we won the Super Bowl,” Dungy said. “My dad’s first teaching job was in Arlington, Virginia, and he can’t ride on the bus, he can’t go to certain places, he can’t teach at certain schools. One generation later we win the Super Bowl and I’m invited by the president to bring our team to the White House. I’m sitting in the first seat, on the first bus, it made me laugh almost. This is what my dad was talking about. Just work, do what you were supposed to do and you’ll make a difference.”

“What do you hope your impact is?” WFLA’s Deanne King asked Dungy.

“I’ve always wanted my impact to be helping people, not just dream but helping them pursue those dreams, so know that you can get there, you can do things even when other people don’t think you can. Don’t let anyone stop you not just from dreaming but doing”