Dick Tomey, who for 14 years led Arizona’s football team, died on Friday at the age of 80, the university announced.
Tomey ended his 14-year stint in Tuscon as the Wildcats’ winningest coach of all time, going 95-64-4 from 1987-2000. He and his “Desert Swarm” defenses of the ’90s resulted in some of Arizona’s best years, which included nine winning seasons and a 4-3 bowl record.
“Dick Tomey was never petty, never small minded,” his family said in a statement. “He was a man who discovered his mission in life, embraced it, enjoyed it, and accomplished amazing things. When speaking of football, he often said, ‘Football is not complicated. People are.’ He was always, first and foremost, a people person.”
Tomey won Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 1992 and coached his teams to seven bowl games, winning four. He also coached Arizona to its two best seasons in school history: a 10-2 campaign in 1993 and a 12-1 campaign in 1998. Those seasons also resulted in the highest postseason rankings in school history: 10th and fourth, respectively.
Tomey also coached at Hawaii from 1977-86, compiling a 63-46-3 record, and at San Jose State from 2005-09, compiling a 25-35 record.
Tomey is survived by his wife, Nanci Kincaid; son Rich; daughter Angie; grandsons Ryan, Chase and Jude Tecklin; granddaughter Taylor; stepdaughters Ali Bergthold, Leigh Chaudhari; and step grandchildren Caid Bergthold, Coby Bergthold and Charley Bergthold.