AP Photo/Butch Dill

Pat Sullivan, Heisman Winner at Auburn, Dies at 69


As The Plains erupted in celebration following the Auburn Tigers' incredible 48-45 victory over the fifth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, one of Auburn University's most iconic alumni passed away late Saturday night.

First reported by Phillip Marshall of 247Sports, beloved Auburn football quarterback Pat Sullivan has died. His cause of death was not immediately reported. Sullivan was 69 years old.

Pat Sullivan Death

As the gold standard of Auburn football, Sullivan's career highlights under head coach Ralph Jordan include wins over top-10 teams like Florida, Tennessee and Georgia, as well as two Iron Bowl victories over Alabama. In 1970, Sullivan led the nation in total offense and was named SEC Player of the Year. He is still Auburn's career leader with 53 touchdown passes and ranks fifth in school history with 6,284 passing yards.

The 1971 Heisman Trophy winner took home the Walter Camp Award and was named All-American for the second time during his senior season. The second-round pick in the 1972 NFL Draft played six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins, but started only four games.


Pat Sullivan Highlights

RELATED: 12 Famous Athletes and Celebrities Who Attended Auburn

After his playing career, Sullivan embarked on a coaching career that spanned nearly three decades. He began as quarterbacks coach at Auburn under head coach Pat Dye before taking over as head coach of the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs in 1992. Despite only posting a 24-42-1 record at TCU, Sullivan's biggest recruiting statement brought future College and Pro Football Hall-of-Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson into the program.

Sullivan took over as offensive coordinator of UAB in 1999. A few years later, Sullivan was diagnosed with throat cancer, which was followed by radiation treatments that caused the former Auburn quarterback to need a feeding tube and oxygen to help him breathe. The assistant coach missed only one game during the 2003 season.


After being deemed cancer-free, Sullivan continued coaching the game he loved and went on to be head coach of the Samford Bulldogs for eight seasons, leading the program to the FCS Playoffs for the first time in 21 years in 2013.

The Auburn legend coached his final football game in 2014. Fittingly, it seems, Sullivan and Samford University played that last game at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Sullivan retired from coaching after his final farewell at Auburn.

Auburn University Honors a Legend

The Birmingham, Alabama native who starred at John Carroll Catholic High School was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1981. Sullivan was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.


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.

Read more Auburn University news here.