ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - He's used to giving pep talks in the locker room, but Wednesday, former Bucs great Tony Dungy took his talents to a high school auditorium. He spent the afternoon talking to an audience of predominantly black teens and their dads at Gibbs High School about today's issues and how to tackle them.
Dungy stressed the importance of strong father-son relationships.
"I was so blessed, my father was around all the time as a role model for me. Someone I could look up to, someone I could ask a question to anytime. You think that's the norm. And then to see kids that don't have that, you realize what they're missing," Dungy said.
It's a message that hit home for fathers in the crowd during Pinellas County's "Dads Take Your Child to School Day".
"Today, I was inspired. I learned that being a role model isn't just being in a child's life, but to encourage them to do better, to grow. We should do that not only for our children, but for other children in the community as well," father Ryan Williams said.
Dungy says education is at the forefront of building up the future generation. With racial tensions at a high point across the nation, he says arming kids with intellect and respect is more important than ever.
"It's all authority figures. Parents, teachers, law enforcement. Anybody who has that authority title. We've got to teach our kids how to interact properly with authority. How to respect authority and how to be authoritative, so when they grow into those positions, they're related to people the right way," Dungy said.
Dungy is a spokesman for "All Pro Dad", a national fatherhood organization.