From A Pulpit To The Super Bowl – Tony Dungy’s Roots Are In Chatham-Kent | Black History Month
Tony Dungy became the first Black NFL coach to win a Super Bowl title when he led the Indianapolis Colts to a title in Super Bowl XLI.
Eight-five years prior however, the Dungy family was coming to be in Chatham-Kent. This is the story:
Standing behind the pulpit at Union Baptist Church in Dresden, a Black preacher was reading from the Bible. In the crowd, a parishioner named Alberta Milburn sang hymns and responded to the pastors prompts, lowered her head in prayer, and whispered ‘Amen.’ Milburn lived in nearby Chatham Township, and soon after Pastor Herbert L. Dungy arrived in 1922, the two were married. Their union soon took them across the border to Michigan, where in 1943 their son Wilbur graduated from Jackson High School, before serving as a member of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, who were the first American unit of Black pilots to serve the country.
Wilbur Dungy married his love, Cleomae, who grew up playing basketball in Amherstburg, Ontario. When Wilbur returned to Michigan following the War, he soon graduated college in 1948. Herbert and Alberta would return to Dresden for a second preaching assignment in 1950.
In 1953, Wilbur Dungy became the first Black professor at Jackson Junior College, and two years later, in 1955, Cleomae and Wilbur welcomed a son to the world. His name was Tony Dungy.
Reverend Herbert L. Dungy’s assignment to a Dresden church would start a story that would culminate in Tony Dungy becoming the first Black NFL coach to win a Super Bowl title when he led the Indianapolis Colts to a title in Super Bowl XLI.