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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Tomey eager to trade friendly fire in WAC

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

On the first day in his office as the head football coach at San Jose State yesterday, Dick Tomey said he's already looking forward to competing against former assistant coaches who are now his rivals as head coaches at Hawai'i and Fresno State.


"It is gonna be scary 'cause they're damn good, but it'll be fun," Tomey said. "Obviously, June (Jones at UH) and I are close. I'm close with Pat Hill (at Fresno State). I've worked with both of those guys at Hawai'i and Arizona and I've known Dan Hawkins (Boise State) for a long time."

Tomey spent 10 season at UH and 14 at Arizona, becoming the winningest coach at both schools. Now, at age 66, after a season doing television for UH games and a year each as an assistant with the San Francisco 49ers and University of Texas, Tomey said he relishes playing his former assistants.

"That's just good competition and you love to play people that you like and you love to have a chance to compete," Tomey said. "It'll be fun. But I have great respect for the Hawai'i program."

In 1983, as the head coach at UH, Tomey gave Jones his first coaching job. UH plays at San Jose State in 2005.

Tomey said "it is possible but not clear right now" that he will ask some coaches with Hawai'i ties to join his staff. He said he does not initially plan to recruit in Hawai'i.

Although San Jose State, coming off a 2-9 season, has managed just one winning season since 1992, Tomey said he remembers taking on the UH job in 1977 as being a bigger challenge.

"They're similar in some regards but I think the Hawai'i situation (was tougher) because it was summer, because I could only bring two coaches — I had to keep seven — because people were quitting right and left. ... It was an enormous challenge. But it was one of the most fun things.

"That first year, truth be known, that could have been the best year of coaching I've ever had in terms of just sheer enjoyment. We had a 5-6 record but it was just such an enjoyable year."

As for San Jose State, Tomey said: "Anytime there are this many players within driving distance and you have these kind of facilities the question that is more appropriate is: Why can't you succeed? Instead of how in the world are you going to?"

Reach Ferd Lewis at flewis@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8044.