Former Hawaii football coach Dick Tomey dies of lung cancer

Updated: May. 12, 2019 at 10:35 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Former University of Hawaii head football coach Dick Tomey died Friday after a months-long battle with lung cancer, his family says.

He was 80 years old.

In a statement, his family said in part:

To us, Dick Tomey was one of a kind. Known for his room-for-everyone big-heartedness, generous spiritedness (to a fault), instinctive kindness, love and respect for people of all walks, and the ease with which he forgave himself and others and moved on with life without resentments—taught all of us so much. Dick Tomey was never petty, never small minded. He was a man who discovered his mission in life, embraced it, enjoyed it, and accomplished amazing things. When speaking of football, he often said, “Football is not complicated. People are.” He was always, first and foremost, a people person."

Tomey was the head coach of the Rainbow Warriors between 1977 and 1986, going 63–46–3 over the ten-season stretch and ushering the 'Bows into the Western Athletic Conference.

Hawaii was Tomey’s first head coaching job in what would go on to be a lengthy and distinguished career.

He left UH to become the head coach at the University of Arizona in 1986, eventually becoming the winningest football coach in program history, and spent five seasons at the helm with the San Jose State Spartans.

His last full-time coaching job was at Hawaii in 2011, when he coached the special teams under former head coach Greg McMackin.

Tomey’s family says plans for a Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, the Dick Tomey Legacy Fund has been established through the Positive Coaching Alliance (501c3). 100% of these funds will go directly to providing scholarships and programing for underserved youth in the markets where Dick spent the majority of his years in the community as the Head Football Coach.

Visit to designate the Hawaii, Arizona, or Bay Area Chapter as the beneficiary of your donation to the Dick Tomey Legacy Fund.

Read the family’s full statement below:

Dick Tomey Release by HNN on Scribd

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