June 8, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Ron Toman, quarterbacks and receivers coach at the University of Notre Dame from 1976-80, died June 2 in Phoenix, Ariz. He was 77.

Toman was an assistant coach under Dan Devine and joined the Irish coaching staff in the summer of 1976 after Ed Chlebek was named head coach at Eastern Michigan University. Toman had played for Devine at the University of Missouri.

In five seasons at Notre Dame, Toman helped the Irish compile a 45-13-1 (.771) record including a 3-1 record in bowl games. Among the bowl victories Toman contributed to was the 1978 Cotton Bowl that allowed the Irish to become national champions following their 38-10 win against then-No. 1 Texas.

Toman’s first season at Notre Dame saw the Irish cap off a 9-3 season by defeating Penn State in the Gator Bowl and Notre Dame finished the year ranked 12th in the Associated Press poll.

Notre Dame claimed its 10th consensus national championship in Toman’s second season. After falling to Mississippi in the second game of the season, the Irish won 10 straight games to close the 1977 campaign, highlighted by the Cotton Bowl win against top-ranked Texas. Toman developed Joe Montana into a starting quarterback as Montana passed for 1,604 yards and 11 touchdowns to lead the Irish to the ’77 title.

Montana continued his growth under Toman’s tutelage as he became just the third Notre Dame quarterback to eclipse 2,000 passing yards in a season (John Huarte in 1964 and Joe Theismann in 1970). Montana passed for 2,010 yards and 10 TDs while Kris Haines was the leading receiver with 32 receptions for 699 yards and five TDs. The ’78 squad finished the year ranked seventh in the AP poll following the come-from-behind victory over Houston in the Cotton Bowl.

The 1979 Irish team was the only group in Toman’s time at Notre Dame that did not participate in a bowl game. The Irish finished 7-4 and unranked at the end of the season.

Toman’s final year at Notre Dame saw the Irish race out to a 9-0-1 start and were ranked second in the nation before dropping the last two games to finish the season ranked ninth in the country. Toman worked with Blair Kiel and Mike Courey at quarterback while Tony Hunter was Notre Dame’s leading receiver.

Born Oct. 30, 1934, in Kansas City, Mo., Toman graduated from East High School in Kansas City and served his country for two years in Fort Hood, Texas. Toman coached at several other schools including Tulane University and the University of Texas as well as the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.

Toman is survived by his wife of 57 years, the former Bobbie Jean Dickerson. They have five children, nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

A family memorial service will be held on a later date.