SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Dick Tomey created countless long-term relationships during his 29 years as a head football coach.
The Gold Room in the Simpkins Center was overflowing Monday with his latest friends, colleagues and players when Tomey announced he was retiring from coaching, effective following San Jose State's game against Louisiana Tech on Dec. 5.
The 71-year-old coach said this was an opportunity for he and his wife, Nanci Kincaid, to "open a new chapter."
"We have a lot of responsibilities left on the mainland, including six grandchildren to visit, but effectively we will be going back to the place we love the most and that's Hawaii," said Tomey, who has 182 wins during stints at Hawaii, Arizona and San Jose State.
Tomey's first college head coaching job was at Hawaii, which he built into a powerhouse when he took over in 1977. He left for Arizona in 1987 and built the Wildcats into a top 10 power before leaving after the 2000 season.
He took over at San Jose State in 2005 and found a program in turmoil. Academic penalties cost the Spartans 57 scholarships and limited spring practices during his tenure at the school. He leaves with the most wins (24) of any San Jose State coach in 20 years and with an academic support system firmly in place.
"No coach wants to go out when he's not succeeding with his football team," Tomey said. "I will not apologize for one second for our football team over the last five years."
Tomey, who has never coached a football team to consecutive losing seasons, said the next coach should understand what a difficult task is at hand at San Jose State.
"It has to be somebody who does not get discouraged about the road blocks," he said. "There will be some. He has to handle the fact you're not going to get everything you want."
Tomey, who was partly recruited to San Jose State by the late Bill Walsh, has left a lasting impression on those he coached. He considered himself a teacher more than coach and loved the relationships over the sport.
"The darn game is simple, it's the people who are complicated," Tomey said. "That's what it is all about. I want to feel and celebrate all the good stuff and let the bad stuff hurt."
He coached Hawaii, Arizona and San Jose State to bowl games, with the Spartans winning the 2006 New Mexico Bowl in his second year.
With three games remaining he has an overall record of 182-143-7.
San Jose State athletic director Tom Bowen said a search is under way for Tomey's successor. Bowen said he would like to make the announcement before the end of the fall semester.