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Former Arizona football coach Dick Tomey passes away


The winningest football coach in Arizona Wildcats history has died.

Dick Tomey, who won 95 games with Arizona from 1987 to 2000, passed away on Friday night after a monthslong battle with lung cancer, the school’s athletic department announced. He was 80.

“We are all heartbroken to lose him, but are forever grateful to have shared his life,” Tomey’s family wrote in a statement released early Saturday by the school.

Tomey was hired by Arizona from Hawaii in January 1987, leading the Wildcats to a 95-64-4 record overall including a 60-49-4 mark in Pac-10 play. Both his overall and conference victories are tops in program history.

The architect of the Desert Swarm defense, Tomey’s 1998 team was Arizona’s best ever, going 12-1 with a 23-20 victory over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. Five years earlier, in 1993, the Wildcats went 10-2 with a share of the Pac-10 title, shutting out Miami (Fla.) in the Fiesta Bowl.

Tomey’s career coaching record was 183-145-7 over 29 seasons, including 10 at Hawaii (1977-86) and five with San Jose State (2005-09). He was 5-3 in bowl games, with four of those wins coming at Arizona.

This story will be updated.