Dick Tomey, at age 73, returned to coaching this season as the special teams coordinator at Hawaii.
He had his health, the energy, the passion, and he was living in Honolulu anyway in “retirement” … so why not?
But head coach Greg McMackin stepped down last week after posting a 29-25 record in four seasons at Hawaii, so Tomey’s coaching future is cloudy as the Warriors go through a transition.
“I don’t know,” Tomey said late last week in a phone interview.
“If I have a chance to coach again, that would be great. I had as good a time as you can have this year. But if that’s all there is, that’s fine.”
Under Tomey’s watch on special teams, Hawaii was 10th nationally in kick return defense, ranked in the top 25 in net punting and kick return yardage, and was in the top half of the nation in punt returns and punt return yardage defense.
Tomey was the head coach at Hawaii from 1977 to 1986, at Arizona from 1987 to 2000, and at San Jose State from 2005 to 2009.
He has nothing to do with the Warriors’ coaching search but did say he hopes the job would go to somebody with a background at Hawaii.
“There are too many University of Hawaii ex-players, ex-coaches for Hawaii to not greatly consider somebody in that family,” Tomey said.
Tomey spent time Saturday with two of those from the Hawaii family — Salpointe High grad Rich Ellerson and Ken Niumatalolo, both of whom are former Hawaii players and assistants. Tomey was in attendance for his first Army-Navy game as Ellerson’s Black Knights lost to Niumatalolo’s Midshipmen, 27-21 at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
My two cents is that Hawaii would be wise to take a long look at Texas secondary coach Duane Akina, a Honolulu native whose family has long football ties in the region. He was an assistant at Hawaii under Tomey before spending 14 seasons with Tomey at Arizona.
Akina, popular among his peers and one of the most energetic coaches anywhere, likely would be able to compile an excellent coaching staff. At 55, the clock is ticking on whether Akina will ever get a chance to become a head coach.