Auburn's first Heisman Trophy victor Pat Sullivan dies at 69

Carrie Guzman
December 4, 2019

Sullivan played three seasons for the Tigers, winning the Heisman trophy during his senior season, when he threw 162-281 for 2,012 yards and 20 touchdowns. "He was a friend, mentor and a man of great character, who was beloved by many generations of Auburn fans". Sullivan also won the Walter Camp Award and was the unanimous All-American quarterback in 1971 - the first of the 10 SEC players who have been the consensus All-American QB.

"On behalf of the Auburn family, we are heartbroken by the passing of Pat Sullivan".

"He was identified with most cancers in 2003 and fought a protracted and troublesome battle because of his therapies", the Sullivan household mentioned in a press release launched by means of Auburn College. He served as a longtime assistant coach at his alma mater and was offensive coordinator at UAB.

Sullivan passed away the morning after the 2019 Iron Bowl, and that famous in-state rivalry is what set him on a path to college-football fame in the late 1960s.

Sullivan became a program-altering player at Auburn for his ability as a passer, which allowed Jordan to modernize his offense.

Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Terry Beasley are the only Auburn players to have their jerseys retired.

The 1967 National Catholic High School Player of the Year chose coach Ralph "Shug" Jordan and Auburn over coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and Alabama. He went out with Auburn going 9-2.

Sullivan was a three-year starting quarterback at Auburn from 1969 to '71. Because he also ran for 18 scores during his career, Sullivan left the Tigers tied for the NCAA record for TD responsibility.

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He spent some time working in business outside of football following the end of his playing career before returning to the game in the 1980s, spending five years doing radio color commentary for Auburn football games before joining head coach Pat Dye's staff as the quarterbacks coach, a role he served in from 1986-91.

A second-round pick in the 1972 NFL Draft, Sullivan played four seasons for the Atlanta Falcons before concluding his professional playing career in 1976 with the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers.

In addition to the College Football Hall of Fame, Sullivan is a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the Samford Athletics Hall of Fame and the Halls of Fame of the Gator Bowl, Senior Bowl and Sugar Bowl.

In 1992, TCU hired Sullivan as its head coach and his teams had a 24-42 record in six seasons.

He entered the Alabama Sports activities Corridor of Fame in 1981.

Sullivan is survived by his wife, Jean; his children, Kim, Kelly and Patrick; and eight grandchildren.

"He was a kind and humble gentleman, who was an Auburn legend", Auburn athletic director Allen Greene said.

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