San Jose State's Tomey shows impeccable timing


POSTED: Monday, November 16, 2009

The University of Hawaii football team's job just got a little bit harder.

Make that a lot harder.

It's bad enough for the Warriors that Greg Salas left Aloha Stadium on crutches the other night with a hurtin' right foot. He's just the nation's leader in receiving yardage per game, that's all. He's the only UH receiver to find the end zone in Saturday's 24-6 win over New Mexico State. If he's not better in two weeks, forget about this whole drive for five thing, this improbable run to the Hawaii Bowl after a six-game losing streak. Yes, blame it on injuries. UH has other problems, but, yes, this is the craziest avalanche of injuries I've seen curse a football team.

BUT THERE'S something even more ominous.

Let's say Salas is worth seven to 10 points a game, and that's a generous estimate. That would leave UH plenty to spare at San Jose State, a 1-8 team with five losses in a row; its only win was against Cal Poly back in September. The Spartans couldn't even get an obvious replay call to go in their favor against Boise State (as if it would've made a difference).

The Spartans were just Curly on the UH schedule after the Larry and Moe of Utah State and New Mexico State.

That, however, all changed with one announcement yesterday. Actually, an announcement announcing an announcement.

Dick Tomey will retire from coaching at the end of the season.

Yes, that Dick Tomey, the former UH coach. Apples and oranges, hot coals, cool moss. The man who ushered the Rainbows into the WAC. He had the most wins at UH (63), until June Jones, whom he never beat.

Dick Tomey, the master of motivation, finding one final ace to play.

Do you think it's a coincidence this news broke yesterday, and will get plenty of play today and tomorrow—the week that Tomey's former team arrives in the Silicon Valley? For people like Tomey, a meticulous planner, coincidences do not exist.

San Jose State's other remaining games are against New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech. He won't say it, but Tomey would rather beat Hawaii and lose to the other two than win the other two and lose to Hawaii.

TOMEY HAS beaten Hawaii twice as a head coach, once when he was at Arizona and last year at Aloha Stadium. He won't take satisfaction in messing up half of the dream matchup for the Hawaii Bowl (Jones and SMU have done their part), but if there's a way to make 2-10 in his last year sting less, this is it.

He arrived at San Jose State in 2005, which means all of these players are his, no leftovers from predecessor Fitz Hill. Presumably, they will play for him. He won't have to say anything—they will all know how much beating UH would mean to him.

I don't know how many points this is worth. You can't put a number on emotion (well, maybe Vegas can, and it will).

Dick Tomey retiring—with UH as one of his last opponents—reminds me of that great Western featuring aging bank robbers, “;The Wild Bunch.”;

“;I'd like to make one good score and back off,”; says William Holden's Pike Bishop.

Well, Tomey just gave his boys and himself that opportunity.

Reach Star-Bulletin sports columnist Dave Reardon at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), his “;Quick Reads”; blog at starbulletin.com, and twitter.com/davereardon.