Published: Wed, December 04, 2019
Sport | By

Pat Sullivan gave the state a new kind of football hero

Pat Sullivan gave the state a new kind of football hero

A cancer of the throat was diagnosed in the former quarterback in 2003, and according to the statement, he "waged a long and hard battle as a result of his treatment". Sullivan was 69 years old.

Heisman Trophy victor and former college football coach Pat Sullivan has died at 69 years old, following a long battle with cancer. He served as the head coach of Texas Christian University from 1992 to 1997 and later Samford University. Sullivan was inducted into the Corridor of Fame as a participant in 1991.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Sullivan, one of Auburn's all-time greats on and off the field", Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement.

Sullivan chose Auburn over Alabama after a long and unexpected visit with Auburn's legendary coach.

He spent five seasons doing radio commentary for Auburn football before joining Coach Pat Dye's staff in 1986 as quarterbacks coach. He went on to be drafted by the Atlanta Falcons, playing in the National Football League for five seasons between the Falcons and the Redskins.

Sullivan is one of three Auburn Tigers to win the Heisman, the annual award given to college football's most outstanding player.

Sullivan led the nation in total offense as a junior in 1970, teaming up with wide receiver Terry Beasley to pass for 2,586 yards. He was a buddy, mentor and a person of nice character, who was beloved by many generations of Auburn followers.

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


7 jersey that has since been retired by Auburn, Sullivan led the Tigers to a 9-2 record in 1971.

© Dave Martin, AP Auburn Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson (left), Pat Sullivan (center) and Cam Newton (right) are introduced prior to the annual spring A-Day game at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., Saturday, April 14, 2012. Twelve days later, Sullivan edged Cornell's Ed Marinaro to become Auburn's first Heisman Trophy victor.

The demand for tickets to watch "Sullivan to Beasley" was so great that it allowed Auburn to start its mandatory season-ticket plan.

Sullivan returned to his native Birmingham, Alabama, and worked as UAB's offensive coordinator for six seasons. "We extend our deepest condolences to the entire Sullivan family".

After his playing career, Sullivan embarked on a coaching career that spanned almost three decades.

Sullivan's family released a statement saying he "died peacefully at home" Sunday morning, surrounded by relatives. The 1994 Horned Frogs shared the Southwest Conference championship and played in the Independence Bowl, one of TCU's two bowls in a 32-year span. "He was a kind and humble gentleman, who was an Auburn legend", Auburn Director of Athletics Allen Greene said.

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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