Native Tucsonan Mark Lumley, a University of Arizona graduate who coached softball and basketball in the Flowing Wells School District from 1985 until 1998, passed away from cancer early Sunday morning.
“My mentor, hero and role model has left this world,” his former assistant at Flowing Wells, Armando Quiroz, mentioned on social media.
Quiroz went on to coach softball at Flowing Wells and later at Pima College. His daughter Rebekah Quiroz, now the Pima softball coach after her dad’s retirement in 2018, was a standout player with Flowing Wells who went on to play at Arizona.
“Coach Mark Lumley is now resting pain free in the Kingdom of God,” Armando Quiroz commented. “So happy he is home now probably organizing an Angelic practice. Our pain is minimized knowing you are free and easy once again.”
Lumley, 65, retired in September after 20 seasons as Baylor’s hitting coach when he was undergoing his fourth bout with cancer.
He had his prostate removed in 2007, when he was first diagnosed with cancer. He endured chemotherapy treatments in 2015 when cancer was found in his lymph nodes and then had surgery in November 2018 for colorectal cancer.
Lumley learned that the cancer spread to his vertebrae in March after he was coaching full-time during the 2020 season that was cut short by COVID-19.
A 2014 Hall of Fame inductee at Flowing Wells along with Armando Quiroz, Lumley led the Cabs softball team for 12 years and coached them to a state runner-up finish twice in 1993 and 1997.
Lumley coached the Cabs to a No. 5 final national ranking by USA Today in 1997. He was named the 1998 Arizona Coaches Association Coach of the Year. The 1998 Arizona All-Star Game was dedicated to Lumley for his longstanding tenure as a high school coach. He was also named the 1993 and 1997 Coach of the Year by the Arizona Daily Star and Tucson Citizen.
Lumley, who also coached the Flowing Wells’ girls basketball program in 1997-98, joined Glenn Moore’s staff with LSU softball in 1998 after gaining a recommendation from good friend Mike Candrea at Arizona.
“We’ve known each other for many years,” Candrea told The Arizona Daily Star in 2017, when Baylor came to Arizona and defeated the Wildcats in the NCAA Super Regional at Hillenbrand Stadium.
“I felt like he wanted to get to that next level and I thought he’d be pretty good. As you can tell, he’s been there quite some time. It makes you feel good when you recommend someone who is talented, loyal, hard working and a quality human being.”
Lumley coached with Moore at LSU in 1998 and 1999 and was with him at Baylor since the 2000 season.
“He was out here at times when he shouldn’t have been here, when he should have been taking care of himself,” Moore told the Waco Tribune-Herald. “I’m not saying this because he’s about to retire, I’m saying this because that’s who he is. He has always put others ahead of himself. I admire him for how he’s been driven by doing that.”
He’s trying to beat cancer for the fourth time. He’s @BaylorSoftball assistant Mark Lumley.
The #Baylor community came out in force — 200 plus cars to be exact — to raise his spirits during a tough time.
— D1Softball (@D1Softball) May 4, 2020
Lumley was promoted by Moore to be associate head coach at Baylor in 2006. He helped the Bears reach 13 NCAA regionals while making four trips to the Women’s College World Series.
Lumley married his wife, Stacey Tindall, on Dec. 28, 2012. He became a stepfather for Stacey’s sons Trey, Mason and D.J.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a drive-by parade in Lumley’s honor took place in April after his retirement. It attracted an estimated 200 cars and 1,000 people who showed support for Lumley in his recent battle with cancer.
“He’s closer to me than my brothers, and I have a close relationship with them,” Moore is quoted as saying in Baylor’s Web site. “He’s just been my side for so long now. I have to say, he’s the best man I’ve ever met in my life.
“I’ve never seen someone so unselfish and giving and loyal. He just has a heart for people and, in particular, for all the players we coach.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.