Former UA football coach Tomey in Texas receiving cancer treatment

Former Arizona football coach Dick Tomey is undergoing treatment for lung cancer at a Texas hospital.

Tomey’s family and the UA announced the information on Friday morning. He is 80 years old.

“Coach Dick Tomey was recently diagnosed with a type of lung cancer at Tucson Medical Center and is currently undergoing further tests this week at MD Anderson Medical Center in Houston, Texas,” the family said in a statement. “We (Coach and his family) greatly appreciate all the people who have reached out to help in so many ways and all the expressions of love and well-wishes being sent our way from so many people. Following Coach Tomey’s example, our family is feeling very grateful and hopeful for a positive outcome.”

Two College Football Hall of Famers — Tedy Bruschi on the left and Rob Waldrop — with former UA coach Dick Tomey. (Photo by Anthony Gimino, AllSportsTucson.com)

Tomey coached UA from 1987 to 2000 and is the winningest coach in Arizona football history, having won 95 games.

He went 95-64-4 overall.

In the mid-1990s he was the leader of what is now the legendary defense called the “Desert Swarm” where opponents struggled to gain yardage on the ground or the air.


Tomey returned to Tucson recently to become a full-time resident, often seen around town and most recently celebrated the 1998 UA football team’s 20th anniversary. In 1998, Tomey’s Wildcats went 12-1, beating Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. It’s long been considered Arizona’s best football season ever.

Arizona’s Athletic department made a statement this morning as well.

“It saddens us to confirm Coach Tomey is undergoing treatment for a cancerous tumor,” UA said. “Coach Tomey is an iconic figure not only in our football family, but also the University of Arizona and Tucson community. Our thoughts are with Coach Tomey, his family and loved ones, and we wish them all the very best during this difficult time.”

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