Dungy ready to rebuild Colts defense

Wednesday, January 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ On his first day on the job, Tony Dungy promised to rebuild Indianapolis' defense and lead the Colts to the playoffs and eventually the Super Bowl.

Dungy was introduced as the Colts coach Wednesday, one day after signing a five-year, $13 million contract.

``I know a lot of people who are here, and I think that the nucleus that is here is a nucleus that can win,'' Dungy said.

``Now it's our job to put together a coaching staff and give it some direction to just take that shift toward the goal of winning, and I feel very confident that we can do that.''

The 46-year-old Dungy is the Colts' sixth coach in 11 seasons.

Dungy was fired by Tampa Bay on Jan. 14 after going 54-42 and leading the Buccaneers to four playoff appearances in six seasons. The Buccaneers were 9-7 this season and lost to Philadelphia in the wildcard round of the playoffs.

With Tampa Bay, Dungy's defenses ranked among the league's best and earned No. 1 rankings in 1998 and 2000. The Colts are hoping he can help turn around the league's 29th-ranked defense.

Dungy replaces Jim Mora, who was fired Jan. 8 by the Colts, primarily for refusing to fire defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Fangio has since taken the coordinator's job with the expansion Houston Texans.

Dungy's hiring gives the NFL two black head coaches, the other being the Jets' Herman Edwards, an assistant to Dungy before last season.