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Former Arizona football head coach Dick Tomey dies at age 80

27 Nov 1998: Head coach Dick Tomey of the Arizona Wildcats looks on during the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at the Arizona Stadium in Tuscon, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 50-42.

PHOENIX — The winningest head football coach at the University of Arizona, Dick Tomey passed away on Friday night at the age of 80.

According to a release from Tomey’s family, the former coach had been battling lung cancer for months.

“He died surrounded by his family, resting peacefully, after battling lung cancer for months,” the Tomey family said. “We are all heartbroken to lose him, but are forever grateful to have shared his life.”

Donations on Tomey’s behalf can be made to the Dick Tomey Legacy Fund established through the Positive Coaching Alliance.

The fund supports scholarships and programs in Arizona, Hawaii and the Bay Area.

“It was his selflessness and dedication to the common good that always propelled him forward,” the Tomey family said.

“As a family we rarely talk about how many games Dick Tomey won—we talk about how many hearts he won… including all of ours.”

Tomey was the second-longest tenured coach at Arizona and from 1987 to 2000, he led the team to a 95-64-4 record.

In his 14 seasons, the Wildcats went 4-3 in bowl games, including a 1993 Fiesta Bowl win over Miami and a 1998 Holiday Bowl win over Nebraska.

The 1998 team finished with a 12-1 record and ranked No. 4 in the final AP and Coaches Polls, both top marks for Arizona under the head coach.

In addition to his time spent at Arizona, Tomey was also the head coach of the University of Hawaii from 1977 to 1986 and coached as an assistant in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers in 2003.

In 1992, Tomey was named the Pac-12 coach of the year.

“On the football field he was a tough as nails coach, who loved fierce competition and the thrill of team-building,” the Tomey said.

“He loved his players, every single one of them—always.”

A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date.