Former Arizona football head coach Dick Tomey dies at age 80

May 11, 2019, 8:42 AM | Updated: 3:38 pm
27 Nov 1998: Head coach Dick Tomey of the Arizona Wildcats looks on during the game against the Ari...
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.

Arizona Football

Arizona State University president Michael Crow interviews with Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona'...
Kevin Zimmerman

ASU, Arizona presidents: Not preparing to leave for Big 12

The presidents of Arizona State University and the University of Arizona went on the record reaffirming their commitment to the Pac-12.
18 days ago
Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark speaks to the media during Big 12 NCAA college basketball media d...
Arizona Sports

Report: Big 12 recently contacted ASU, Arizona amid Pac-12 uncertainty

As a Pac-12 media rights deal remains undetermined, the Big 12 has recently had contact with Arizona State and Arizona, according to reports.
27 days ago
From left to right: Jerry Colangelo, Dan Bickley, Michael Bidwill and Vince Marotta on Tuesday, Feb...
Kevin Zimmerman

The Cardinals bring fresh voices and more Newsmaker Week 2023 highlights

Bickley & Marotta welcomed 25 guests representing Arizona's teams and events to their show on Tuesday through Friday. So what did we learn?
1 month ago
TUCSON, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 25: Head coach Jedd Fisch of the Arizona Wildcats looks over his play ca...
Kellan Olson

Arizona football shifts vision of growth from offense to defense for 2023

While the previous regime didn't leave much room for anything but improvement, Arizona football is trending positively.
1 month ago
Arizona Diamondbacks CEO and president Derrick Hall visits the Arizona Sports studios on Tuesday, F...
Arizona Sports

Arizona Sports’ 2023 Newsmakers Week recap

The important figures making the biggest decisions in Arizona sports join Bickley & Marotta throughout a one week span each February.
1 month ago
Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort speaks with reporters during his introductory press conference...
Jake Anderson

Arizona’s Jedd Fisch: Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort will bring an ‘unbelievable attention to detail’

Arizona Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort and Arizona Wildcats football head coach Jedd Fisch go back over 20 years.
2 months ago
Former Arizona football head coach Dick Tomey dies at age 80