Mike Bostic bears a striking resemblance to Colts Hall of Fame Coach
Writer / Jon Shoulders
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
The similarities between Mike Bostic and former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy are far from strictly physical.
It is the striking physical likeness that initially prompted Bostic to don the guise of what he calls Clony Dungy for Colts home games and special events like the Pro Football Ultimate Fan Association’s (PFUFA) annual four-day summer event in Canton, Ohio. But the coaching philosophies and professionalism Dungy brought to bear as a coach provided the true inspiration for Bostic — not only in assuming the appearance of the beloved football figure, who served as Colts coach from 2002 through 2008, but also in his own 15-year career as a sports coach.
“It’s more than just a costume for me, because when I was coaching I really tried to emulate how he approached his profession,” says Bostic, who began his coaching career alongside his former tennis coach at Lawrence North High School before coaching tennis at Carmel High School from 2000 to 2015. “He put the players first, and he put his family first. He based his coaching on principles that I could really relate to. It’s kind of a tribute to him and all he did for Indianapolis.”
Something about Dungy’s successful coaching approach, which led to a Super Bowl championship in 2007, must have rubbed off on Bostic. The northeast Indianapolis native and Ball State University grad won eight state championships as head coach during his 15 years coaching tennis for the Carmel Greyhounds.
In 2009, Bostic accompanied his sons Emerson, 14, and Michael, 12, to the Indianapolis Zoo’s annual Halloween ZooBoo event and, on a whim, decided to throw together an impromptu Tony Dungy costume. To approximate the Dungy look, he cut up a sweater to resemble a sweater vest and transformed a pair of his wife’s earmuffs into a makeshift headset.
“It was hysterical seeing people’s reactions,” Bostic recalls. “A few years later my wife surprised me with Colts season tickets. When we were leaving the first preseason game, some lady that passed me on the street said, ‘Hey, you look like Dungy!’ I wasn’t even dressed like him. I’ve been going to every game since, for the last four seasons, dressed like coach Dungy, and it’s just a blast. I get a lot of double takes.”
During Bostic’s first trip to Canton for the annual PFUFA event, Dungy happened to be speaking at a local church nearby. Bostic ended up attending the speaking event, and was afterwards finally able to shake the hand of the man he admires – and resembles – so much.
“Last year I got to meet him again at the Steelers game on Thanksgiving,” Bostic says. “He’s been really great. He follows me on social media, and he’s a good sport about it. I told him that it’s fun for me, but it’s also in honor of a great coach and a great person.”
This year marks Bostic’s twentieth as a physical education teacher at Forest Dale Elementary School, and in 2015 he decided to retire from coaching tennis to free up time with his family. The Clony Dungy persona isn’t his only family-oriented hobby these days. When his basement flooded last year, Bostic decided to renovate the space into what he calls a Colts Cave, including a painstakingly detailed, small-scale replica of Lucas Oil Stadium. With no woodworking experience, the diehard Colts fan studied countless photos of the stadium, bought the necessary materials and got busy.
“There’s still stuff I want to add to it, like figures of the entire Super Bowl roster from the ‘06-‘07 championship team,” he says. “That’ll be a good winter project to go down there and work on that. It’s a nice stress relief.”
That’s only one of several ongoing projects that keep Bostic occupied these days. A few years back, he fashioned a Lego figurine to resemble Dungy for he and his kids to play with. They began taking staged photos of what they affectionately called Lego Clony Dungy, and a request from a colleague prompted a huge idea for the tiny figurine.
“A coworker of mine at school said she was going to Texas to see her son graduate from the Air Force, and asked to take the Lego Dungy and take pictures around San Antonio,” Bostic says. “From there, I created a Facebook page and got it into my head that I was going to send the figure with family and friends all over the world and set the goal of sending a figurine to every continent.”
Bostic then crafted a few more Lego Dungys to send to friends and strangers alike, and since then the figurines have had their pictures taken all over the world including the White House, Italy, Ireland, Jerusalem and even the South Pole.
A different kind of creative breakthrough came last Thanksgiving when Bostic was attending the Steelers vs. Colts game in Indianapolis. He noticed scores of fans spinning souvenir towels around the stadium and realized he could create a more unique product fans could spin to create excitement during games. The result is Rally Rings, which Bostic says is a combination of a foam finger, a rally towel and a fidget spinner.
“We decided to patent the spin mechanism and create a product that you can take to high schools, colleges and pro sports,” he says. “It’s gotten to the point now where we can sell them to any high school and they can print the school logo on it and put a corporate sponsor on the back, and do it as a giveaway at a game. So, we’re trying to break into that promotional market now.”
Bostic says his seemingly endless energy for all his various hobbies comes from a desire to stay connected with his local community and create unique family memories at the same time.
“I like to have goals and be creative,” Bostic says. “My boys have fun with all these projects and things as well. It’s created a lot of cool memories for them. I’m sure they’ll look back and say, ‘Man, my dad was crazy, but it was really a lot of fun.’”