Pat Sullivan: Heisman victor, coach dies at 69

Ross Houston
December 4, 2019

Former Auburn star Pat Sullivan has died after a long battle with health issues that stemmed from a diagnosis of mouth cancer and the treatment followed. "The family is appreciative of everyone's outpouring of love and support", the statement said. Pat Sullivan is, and at all times will likely be, the definition of an Auburn Man.

In this photo of December 2, 1971, Auburn quarterback Pat Sullivan poses with his Heisman trophy after his presentation at the Downtown Athletic Club in NY. Quarterback Cam Newton won the award in 2010 and running back Bo Jackson received the honor in 1985.

A general view of Jordan-Hare Stadium during the game between the Auburn Tigers and the LSU Tigers on September 15, 2018 in Auburn, Alabama. He was a two-time All-American and named the SEC Player of the Year as a junior and senior.

Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn: "We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Sullivan, one of Auburn's all-time greats on and off the field".


"He was a friend, a mentor and a man of character who was loved by many generations of Auburn fans".

"Pat Sullivan gave Samford all and more than we could have asked", Samford President Andrew Westmoreland said. "I'll perpetually be indebted to Coach Sullivan for serving to deliver me again to Auburn to function the pinnacle soccer coach". He took over the starting quarterback job as a sophomore in 1969 and threw for almost 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns, according to Auburn. Never before in the history of the Southeastern Conference had undefeated teams met so late in the season, AuburnTigers.com said.

Sullivan tied an NCAA career record with 71 total touchdowns (53 passing and 18 rushing). A few weeks, later he won the Heisman. Twelve of his 20 TD passes went to wide receiver Terry Beasley, a figure that remains the Tigers' single-season record for touchdown receptions as a testament to the Sullivan-to-Beasley connection.

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


Freshmen weren't eligible for varsity competition when Sullivan arrived on the Plains, so he had to wait until 1969 to take his first snaps for Auburn. "He was a kind and humble gentleman, who was an Auburn legend", Auburn Director of Athletics Allen Greene said.

Sullivan was a School Soccer Corridor of Famer who performed 4 seasons with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, wrapping up his enjoying profession in 1976 with the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers.

He spent five seasons doing radio commentary for Auburn football before joining Coach Pat Dye's staff in 1986 as quarterbacks coach.

He was TCU's head coach from 1992-97 after which labored as UAB's offensive coordinator earlier than taking up at Samford.


He is survived by wife Jean, three children and eight grandchildren.

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