TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Dick Tomey, who coached Arizona Football through one of its most successful eras, died Friday night at the age of 80 after a short battle with lung cancer.
Tomey came to UA in 1987 after the departure of Larry Smith to USC.
He would coach in Tucson for 14 seasons, leading the Wildcats to seven bowl games (4-3).
His tenure saw the birth of a dominant defensive philosophy that became known throughout college football as “Desert Swarm”.
Arizona went 10-2 in 1993, sharing the Pac-12 Championship with USC and UCLA and crushed 10th ranked Miami 29-0 in the Fiesta Bowl.
His 1998 team, celebrated last season on their 20th anniversary, is considered the best in program history.
The Wildcats finished 12-1 and only a loss to UCLA and a Bruins win over Miami kept UA out of the Rose Bowl. UA beat Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl and finished the season ranked 4th in the final polls.
Tomey’s 95 wins as Wildcats head coach are the most of any man to lead the program.
He arrived in Tucson after coaching 10 seasons at Hawaii. He would end his career coaching five more seasons at San Jose State.