Legendary college football coach Dick Tomey died Friday night after a battle with lung cancer. He was 80.
Tomey coached the Arizona Wildcats from 1987 to 2000, leading them to a 95-64-4 record including a 60-49-4 mark in Pac-10 play. Both his overall and conference victories are tops in program history.
But that is dwarfed by the impact he had on the lives of others. Below are some of the best quotes and stories about Tomey from social media. I also suggest you check out this column in the Arizona Daily Star.
What kind of person was Dick Tomey? He once got mad at me for putting his photo on a UA football game program cover.— Brett Hansen (@bretthansen5) May 11, 2019
Said “Arizona football is about the players, not me.”
An amazing leader and dad who made a larger than life impact on so many. Bear Down coach!
Coach Tomey has been called home after a his battle with cancer. We were blessed to have had him in our lives. What he has done for the U of A Football and our community will live on forever. Coach was a true Champion for Inclusion. Everyone was treated like the star of the Team pic.twitter.com/OHIpyJrdx7— Ricky Hunley (@rickyhunley) May 11, 2019
Sally and I are so sad to hear of Dick Tomey’s passing. I’ve never met a more passionate, loving man, who was also one of the best coaches to ever coach. We’ve lost a dear friend, and the CFB Family lost a true Legend! There is a hole in our hearts. Rest easy, my friend. pic.twitter.com/JGsIng5bKD— Mack Brown (@CoachMackBrown) May 11, 2019
"He cared deeply about the lives and successes of everyone involved in our program, both past and present. Coach never stopped doing his part to help a fellow Wildcat. He embodies what it means to be a 'Wildcat for Life." @CoachSumlin on Dick Tomey pic.twitter.com/kFPZpwlbP1— Arizona Athletics (@AZATHLETICS) May 11, 2019
Everyone that had the pleasure of meeting him, loved and respected him. Coach Tomey was nothing but Class. He walked with the kings but kept the common touch.— Ricky Hunley (@rickyhunley) May 11, 2019
RIP Coach the Football world will never forget you. pic.twitter.com/0ycEPSArqM
Coach Candrea and the entire Arizona softball program mourns the loss of legendary @ArizonaFBall coach Dick Tomey.— Arizona Softball (@ArizonaSoftball) May 11, 2019
Our thoughts are with all of Coach Tomey’s family and friends. pic.twitter.com/M55FeHvZhk
Cried for a few minutes then realized how lucky I was to play for him and more importantly to have known him. What a man. I’ll cherish the memories forever. Love you Coach, Bear Down. #DickTomey— Barrett Baker (@BarrettBaker27) May 11, 2019
My great pleasure was not only to be coached by Dick Tomey at UCLA when he was an assistant, but also to be a fellow staff member at UCLA, I then coached for him at Hawaii and Arizona. But above all, he was my closest friend and mentor who impacted my life beyond description. pic.twitter.com/5giRXa27m6— Mike Flores (@uclamike11) May 11, 2019
Talked to Chuck Cecil just now about Dick Tomey. Said one Arizona legend of the other:— Michael Lev (@MichaelJLev) May 11, 2019
“I love him like a father. He was as great a man as I’ve ever been around. He’ll be missed for sure."
Dick Tomey gave a "manual" to all his players -- printouts of his favorite sayings. More than 20 years later, Kelvin Eafon still has it in his truck and passes down those life lessons in his coaching career. pic.twitter.com/GzIoLBGP31— Anthony Gimino (@AGWildcatReport) May 11, 2019
I don't know how you sum up a man like Dick Tomey with one quote. But I think this, from a 2017 interview with me, comes close to capturing what he was all about. pic.twitter.com/kTCeaOvqig— Anthony Gimino (@AGWildcatReport) May 11, 2019
One of the best things I ever did was play baseball with Dick Tomey for about 10 years. Dick had a rule when he played first base. The second baseman had to catch any pop fly on that side of infield because once the ball went up into the night, he was not gonna find it. #memories pic.twitter.com/xdnu0mElAL— Jay Gonzales (@jaygonzo59) May 11, 2019
My favorite Dick Tomey quote, which I have shared with my students: "Try to be a better version of yourself."— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) May 11, 2019
“Coach them hard and love em harder”— Glenn Parker (@kcgp62) May 11, 2019
And man did we love him back.
Since I met him he has been a part of me and always will be.
R.I.P. Coach #DickTomey
Sad to hear about Dick Tomey’s dead. He was an honest and kind man. I still remember he came to my house recruiting me. He sat on the floor and took off his cowboy books and was just real.— George Wrighster III (@georgewrighster) May 11, 2019
He left an impact on my family that day that we sometimes still talk about. https://t.co/V97jmZkprj
One of the greatest men to ever lead a team onto a football field. You taught me so much about football and how to be an accountable young man. Your presence will be missed. My condolences to the Tomey family. RIP Coach Tomey. #beardown pic.twitter.com/LoLR2ORX7T— Brandon Manumaleuna (@BManu86) May 11, 2019
RIP Coach Tomey. Condolences to the Tomey family. ⬇️ you will be missed! One of Coach Tomey’s most memorable quotes was when he said one day during a meeting after a Holiday Bowl practice, you know what that “N” on Nebraska’s helmet stands for Not Today, Not today! you Coach pic.twitter.com/Bd3leLn7r5— Kelvin Hunter(Coach Hunt) (@KelvinHunter21) May 11, 2019
My heart is sad to the core.. but I’m comforted to know my Coach, my Mentor, my Friend is at peace and in heaven.. A father figure to thousands of us R.I.P Coach Tomey.. “Coach them hard.. LOVE them HARDER” #CoachOnTheBlock pic.twitter.com/zSfNH49NUi— Brandon Sanders (@coachBSanders18) May 11, 2019
We only met one time, but from our conversation you are the definition of the Wildcat Way. While putting others before yourself, I appreciate your endless suppprt towards this University and your legacy will live on forever. Legends Live Forever #BearDown RIP Coach Tomey pic.twitter.com/HiDqEiWsvr— Khalil Tate (@KhalilDTN) May 11, 2019
RIP Coach Tomey- what a wonderful person and a helluva coach. Kind, thoughtful, tough and competitive. We have stayed in touch over the years and talked a lot about coaching. I learned a lot from him. Much love to the Tomey family. https://t.co/WSvlZUuHGO— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) May 11, 2019
Dick Tomey was a gentleman, a father, a friend, a man who chose to do the right things and treat people with respect. Along with so many others, I was fortunate he came into my life.— Greg Hansen (@ghansen711) May 11, 2019
Coach T was my mentor, friend & dad to my best friend. This is so hard. Not being able to call him for encouragement or to solve a problem is unimaginable but Im ready to march forward because of him. He will forever be a legend for so many. Love you Coach https://t.co/tB2IbtYbzr— Mark Harlan (@MarkHarlan_AD) May 11, 2019
Very sad to hear of Coach Tomey's passing. He embodied everything desired in a human being, especially someone who was a leader of young men. While he will be deeply missed and often remembered, his impact will continue to last forever with @ArizonaFBall. #BearDown— Blair Willis (@BlairWillisUA) May 11, 2019
The 3 yr run football had while I was at the A was legendary. Lot of studs on those teams. I will never forget them beating #1 Washington! Coach Tomey will be missed. https://t.co/I33GOSTD8U— Damon Stoudamire (@Iambiggie503) May 11, 2019
When I was attending Arizona in the late 1980's I remember Dick Tomey and his staff going to the Student Union and offering a brown bag lunch session in which they went over game film with fans during lunch time every Wednesday. What coach does that? Special time in UA history.— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) May 11, 2019