INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Tony Dungy was the only coach Jim Irsay wanted.
The Indianapolis Colts' owner got his man Tuesday, winning what he called a bidding war with the Carolina Panthers to lure Dungy to Indianapolis.
"We weren't going to be outbid for Tony Dungy," Irsay said. "He was going to be a Colt for sure."
Dungy, who Irsay said agreed to a 5-year, $13 million contract, is expected to be introduced Wednesday.
The Colts' job opened Jan. 8 when Jim Mora was fired after going 32-34 and leading Indianapolis to two playoff appearances in four seasons.
The 46-year-old Dungy was fired by Tampa Bay, but needed just eight days to find a new job. In six seasons, he turned a bad Buccaneers team into a Super Bowl contender.
Irsay said he thought Dungy's defensive background was just what the Colts needed to turn around the league's No. 29 defense.
"I called him and basically I made it clear that, 'You're the guy I want to coach our team,"' Irsay said.
The deal, however, wasn't so simple.
Dungy interviewed with both the Panthers and Colts last week, and when negotiations got serious Monday, the Colts found themselves in what Irsay described as a "bit of a bidding war."
By Monday night, though, the Colts essentially reached a contract agreement with Dungy. But Dungy's agent, Ray Anderson, said twice Tuesday that final details were still being worked out.
"We haven't worked everything out, but there's nothing that's insurmountable," Anderson said.
Colts president Bill Polian said in a statement that it was an "agreement in principle."
Polian was not available for questions, and a phone message left on Dungy's home answering machine was not returned. Anderson said Dungy was in Mobile, Ala., where the Senior Bowl is being played and many NFL scouts are assembled.
Neither Anderson nor the Colts said they expected any snags in signing Dungy, who was the most successful coach in Buccaneers history, going 54-42 and leading the team to the playoffs four times. The Bucs were 9-8 this season, including a loss to Philadelphia in the wild-card round.
With Tampa Bay, Dungy's defenses ranked among the league's best and earned No. 1 rankings in 1998 and 2000.
"We think he can give the defense a consistency and a cohesive nature," Irsay said. "He is a simplistic genius."
Dungy also fit the profile Polian wanted -- a defensive-minded coach whose system would work well with young players.
Mora was fired, primarily because he refused to fire defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who has since taken the coordinator's job with the expansion Houston Texans.
Polian believed Fangio's system was too complex for the Colts' young defense, which had six first-time starters and could have four or five more new one next season.
Polian also interviewed New York Jets defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, and was reportedly interested in Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache.
Irsay had no doubt, though, about who he wanted.
"Tony is a proven winner and the ideal type of leader we want representing the horseshoe," Irsay said.
Dungy's hiring gives the NFL two black head coaches, the other being the Jets' Herman Edwards, an assistant to Dungy before last season.
Dungy's assistants in Tampa reportedly are interested in joining him in Indianapolis, but a Buccaneers spokesman would not confirm if Dungy or someone from the Colts requested permission to speak with them.
Irsay said Dungy might retain both offensive coordinator Tom Moore and offensive line coach Howard Mudd so the Colts could keep the league's second-ranked offense intact.
Dungy played with Pittsburgh in 1977-78, where he was a member of the Super Bowl champions in his second season. He spent the 1979 season in San Francisco and began his coaching career in 1980 at the University of Minnesota.
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