SEVERE WX : Frost Advisory View Alerts

Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan dies at 69

Pat Sullivan (AP Photo/Anthony Camerano)
Pat Sullivan (AP Photo/Anthony Camerano)

Pat Sullivan was the first player from Auburn University to win the Heisman back in 1971.

Posted: Dec 1, 2019 12:59 PM
Updated: Dec 1, 2019 5:56 PM

Pat Sullivan, Auburn’s first Heisman Trophy winner and one of the program’s all-time greats, passed away Sunday at the age of 69.

A native of Birmingham, Sullivan was a three-year starter at quarterback at Auburn from 1969-71, winning the Heisman Trophy as a senior in 1971. He was a two-time All-American and named the SEC Player of the Year as a junior and senior.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Sullivan, one of Auburn’s all-time greats on and off the field. I will forever be indebted to Coach Sullivan for helping bring me back to Auburn to serve as the head football coach,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. “He was a friend, mentor and a man of great character, who was beloved by many generations of Auburn fans. Pat Sullivan is, and always will be, the definition of an Auburn Man. He certainly will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pat’s wife, Jean, their three children and the entire Sullivan family.”

A three-sport star at John Carroll Catholic High School, Sullivan signed with Auburn in 1968, before freshmen were eligible to play varsity football. As a sophomore in 1969, Sullivan emerged as one of college football’s elite quarterbacks, passing for nearly 1,700 yards with 16 touchdowns.

As a junior in 1970, he led the nation in total offense with 2,856 yards (2,586 pass/270 rush), leading Auburn to a 9-2 record and top 10 ranking, teaming with receiver Terry Beasley to create the SEC’s most feared passing combination.

“Sullivan to Beasley” became a fabled moniker in Auburn lore, with No. 7 connecting with No. 88 for 1,051 yards, 52 receptions and 11 touchdowns to lead the SEC in 1970. Sullivan and Beasley’s uniform numbers, along with 1985 Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson’s No. 34, are the only three Auburn jerseys to be retired.

In 1971, Sullivan led the Tigers to a 9-0 start, securing Auburn’s first Heisman Trophy with a 248-yard, four-touchdown performance against Georgia. In the Heisman voting, Sullivan edged Cornell’s Ed Marinaro, 1,597-1,445. He finished his senior season with 2,012 passing yards and a career-best 20 touchdown passes.

“On behalf of the Auburn family, we are heartbroken by the passing of Pat Sullivan. He was a kind and humble gentleman, who was an Auburn legend,” Auburn Director of Athletics Allen Greene said. “He made a lasting impact on Auburn as the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner, a coach and longtime ambassador. We extend our deepest condolences to the entire Sullivan family.”

Sullivan concluded his Auburn career with 6,284 passing yards and 53 touchdown passes, gaudy statistics in an era that predated college football’s passing revolution. Sullivan’s 53 TD passes remain the most in Auburn history. He also rushed for 18 career touchdowns.

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.

He spent five seasons doing radio commentary for Auburn football before joining Coach Pat Dye’s staff in 1986 as quarterbacks coach. Sullivan spent six seasons (1986-91) on the Auburn staff, helping the Tigers win three Southeastern Conference championships in 1987, ’88, and ’89.

Sullivan’s head coaching career began at TCU from 1992-97. After serving as UAB’s offensive coordinator from 1999-2006, he remained in his hometown as Samford’s head coach from 2007-14.

Sullivan is enshrined in the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the National High School Hall of Fame. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 1991.

In addition to the Heisman Trophy, Sullivan also earned the Walter Camp Award in 1971 and was the Sporting News Player of the Year.

Sullivan and his wife, Jean, have three children, daughter Kim, and twins Kelly and Patrick. They also have eight grandchildren.

Sullivan Family Statement

“At the age of 69, Patrick Joseph “Pat” Sullivan died peacefully at home on the morning of Sunday, December 1, 2019 surrounded by his loving family. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and fought a long and difficult battle as a result of his treatments. The family is appreciative of everyone’s outpouring of love and support.”

Auburn Athletics Statements on passing of Pat Sullivan

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. I will forever be indebted to Coach Sullivan for helping bring me back to Auburn to serve as the head football coach. He was a friend, mentor and a man of great character, who was beloved by many generations of Auburn fans. Pat Sullivan is, and always will be, the definition of an Auburn Man. He certainly will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pat’s wife, Jean, their three children and the entire Sullivan family.”

Auburn Director of Athletics Allen Greene: “On behalf of the Auburn family, we are heartbroken by the passing of Pat Sullivan. He was a kind and humble gentleman, who was an Auburn legend. He made a lasting impact on Auburn as the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner, a coach and longtime ambassador. We extend our deepest condolences to the entire Sullivan family.”

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 46°
Muscle Shoals
Clear
54° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 54°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 45°
Decatur
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 51°
Fort Payne
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 43°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 523955

Reported Deaths: 10798
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson755821496
Mobile40234800
Madison34153500
Tuscaloosa25423444
Montgomery24084573
Shelby23241242
Baldwin20764302
Lee15642166
Calhoun14365311
Morgan14171274
Etowah13707348
Marshall12015220
Houston10418279
Elmore10023202
Limestone9866148
Cullman9514191
St. Clair9498236
Lauderdale9286233
DeKalb8767183
Talladega8123173
Walker7149277
Autauga6773106
Jackson6769110
Blount6548133
Colbert6237132
Coffee5434113
Dale4782111
Russell431339
Franklin421482
Chilton4132110
Covington4083115
Tallapoosa3928148
Escambia390375
Dallas3529150
Chambers3523122
Clarke347460
Marion3080100
Pike306776
Lawrence296995
Winston273272
Bibb256961
Marengo248561
Geneva246575
Pickens233359
Barbour227555
Hale218775
Butler213868
Fayette210360
Henry188644
Cherokee182745
Randolph178041
Monroe173440
Washington165938
Macon156949
Clay150556
Crenshaw149557
Cleburne147041
Lamar140034
Lowndes137653
Wilcox124927
Bullock122140
Conecuh109828
Perry107726
Sumter103332
Coosa100228
Greene91434
Choctaw59024
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 836563

Reported Deaths: 12096
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby931861591
Davidson88121924
Knox49873624
Hamilton43438487
Rutherford42361422
Williamson27569216
Sumner23515342
Montgomery19661224
Wilson18496229
Out of TN1793495
Unassigned16772133
Sullivan16211287
Blount15194194
Bradley14633148
Washington14197243
Maury13242169
Sevier13182175
Putnam11185173
Madison10810241
Robertson9615129
Anderson8633171
Hamblen8509171
Greene7739152
Tipton7227103
Coffee6832121
Dickson6735109
Cumberland6577128
Carter6472156
Bedford6430129
Gibson6406144
McMinn637097
Roane6193102
Jefferson6082123
Loudon601969
Lawrence580986
Hawkins5790106
Monroe571495
Warren551581
Dyer5365104
Franklin508988
Fayette492577
Obion450296
Cheatham445254
Cocke444198
Rhea431475
Lincoln430763
Marshall411858
Campbell409962
Weakley403563
Giles395799
Henderson373075
Macon358477
Carroll357682
White355468
Hardin349866
Hardeman346464
Lauderdale314344
Henry312575
Marion310546
Claiborne306173
Scott305345
Overton297461
Wayne294334
Hickman280746
McNairy276854
DeKalb275653
Smith274938
Haywood268361
Grainger259449
Trousdale249022
Morgan246039
Fentress238446
Johnson231738
Bledsoe209911
Chester209451
Crockett201248
Polk200024
Unicoi194849
Cannon188931
Union186234
Grundy178233
Humphreys174222
Lake169526
Sequatchie166928
Benton163140
Decatur157438
Lewis156226
Meigs134724
Stewart130828
Jackson130035
Clay109331
Houston108533
Perry105728
Moore100117
Van Buren83621
Pickett75724
Hancock55112

Community Events