Former Arizona coach Dick Tomey died after a battle with lung cancer. He was 80.
His family said in a statement that Tomey died Friday night in Tucson, Ariz.
Tomey is the winningest coach in Arizona history. He went 95-64-4 in 14 seasons from 1987-2000.
Tomey's 1998 team finished 12-1 with a No. 4 national ranking behind the "Desert Swarm" defense.
"Dick Tomey was never petty, never small minded," his family said in a statement. "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.
"On the football field he was a tough as nails coach, who loved fierce competition and the thrill of team-building. He loved his players, every single one of them -- always. He was hard on them. He constantly raised the bar. He could do that because he knew how to find the goodness and the talent in people."
Second-year Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin was among the people in coaching circles to pay tribute on Saturday.
"I have been fortunate to know Coach Tomey as a colleague in our business for over 15 years," Sumlin said in a statement. "However, it wasn't until I arrived at the University of Arizona that I got the opportunity to know Coach Tomey on a more personal level. There are only two things that could beat his passion for the game of football: his passion for his family and passion for impacting the lives of his players and coaches on and off the field."
Among the standout defenders who played during Tomey's stint at Arizona are College Hall of Fame members Rob Waldrop and Tedy Bruschi.
Overall, Tomey went 183-145-7 in 29 seasons as a head coach. He went 63-46-3 at Hawaii from 1977-86 and 25-35 at San Jose State from 2005-09.