Auburn legend Pat Sullivan has passed

Tanya Simon
December 4, 2019

Former Auburn quarterback Pat Sullivan, the 1971 Heisman Trophy victor and later the head coach at TCU and Samford University, died on Sunday morning after a long battle with cancer, the university announced.

The Auburn legend coached his final football game in 2014. "The family is appreciative of everyone's outpouring of love and support", the statement said. Brother Chistopher Ilg of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, a former player for the Cleveland Browns, coached the team, and Sullivan considered Brother Ilg one of the most important influences of his life. "I will forever be indebted to Coach Sullivan for helping bring me back to Auburn to serve as the head football coach".

Our thoughts are with the Sullivan family and the Auburn football family as they mourn the loss of one of the greatest Tigers to ever step foot on campus.

Before Sullivan, the closest a player from Alabama or Auburn had come to the Heisman was the fourth-place showing of Crimson Tide center/linebacker Lee Roy Jordan in 1962.

Sullivan was a two-time All-American and named the SEC Player of the Year as a junior and senior. Twelve days later, Sullivan edged Cornell's Ed Marinaro to become Auburn's first Heisman Trophy victor.

Sullivan had three victories against Alabama as a player, and four consecutive Iron Bowl victories later as an Auburn assistant coach.

"We're deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Sullivan, certainly one of Auburn's all-time greats on and off the sector", Auburn head soccer coach Gus Malzahn mentioned in a press release.

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The 1967 National Catholic High School Player of the Year chose coach Ralph "Shug" Jordan and Auburn over coach Paul "Bear" Bryant and Alabama.

"Pat Sullivan was the Moses of Auburn football", David Housel, Auburn's longtime athletics director and historian, said in 2016. He finished his senior season with 2,012 passing yards and a career-best 20 touchdown passes. Sullivan's 53 TD passes remain the most in Auburn history.

Sullivan was a three-year starting quarterback at Auburn from 1969 to '71. He also rushed for 18 career touchdowns.

Sullivan was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

Sullivan was a College Football Hall of Famer who played four seasons with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, wrapping up his playing career in 1976 with the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers.

Sullivan returned to his native Birmingham, Alabama, and worked as UAB's offensive coordinator for six seasons. He was TCU coach from 1992 to1997.

A family man, Sullivan is survived by his wife, Jean Hicks, and three children, Kim and twins Kelly and Patrick Jr.

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