Courtesy of The Arizona Daily Star
On Saturday, before Dick Tomey spoke to about 300 high school football players and coaches at the Coaches for Charity Kickoff Classic Luncheon, before he spoke with about 400 coaches of all manner at Pima College, he visited Pueblo High School, which hasn’t had a winning season in more than 10 years.
Tomey wanted to see how Pueblo’s new head coach, Brandon Sanders, is doing in his first year as a prep head coach. From 1992-95, Sanders was one of the best safeties in college football, an absolute anchor of the “Desert Swarm” years.
Few coaches in Tucson have a more difficult assignment than Sanders does at Pueblo. Tomey met with the Pueblo coaches and the team. His message was simple: You’ll learn more from your struggles than anything else. Don’t get discouraged.
That’s Dick Tomey. Forget his career victory total (183), he was always about people first, football later.
One of those who attended Saturday’s luncheon at the Double Tree hotel was Tim Davis, who has coached at Alabama, Florida, USC, Wisconsin and for the Miami Dolphins. It was Tomey who gave Davis a career-changing opportunity in 1987, Tomey’s first Arizona season.
“I had been hauling meat in Wisconsin,” Davis said. “Dick called and gave me an opportunity to be a graduate assistant coach. It changed my life. It all goes back to him.”
Tomey, who has been out of coaching for three years, is retired and lives in Honolulu. He is 76, looks 56, and has become an in-demand public speaker.
“I always look forward to coming back to Tucson,” Tomey said. “I could talk about the fond memories of the people I met here forever.”