Former Auburn Heisman-winning QB Pat Sullivan dies at age 69
Former Auburn University quarterback Pat Sullivan, who in 1971 became the university’s first player to win the Heisman Trophy, passed away in his sleep on Saturday night at the age of 69, according to media reports.
Sullivan, a Birmingham native, graduated from John Carroll Catholic High School before starring at Auburn from 1968-1971 and then playing in the NFL from 1972-1977.
He would go on to have a lengthy coaching career in Alabama after leaving the NFL to work in the private sector in Birmingham.
After doing radio commentary for Auburn for five seasons in the early ’80’s, Sullivan joined then-head coach Pat Dye’s coaching staff in 1986 as the QB coach. Sullivan would stay in this position until 1991. He was a part of the 1989 Auburn coaching staff that saw the Iron Bowl played in Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time. The 30th anniversary of that game was on Saturday, with Auburn winning 48-45.
Sullivan’s coaching career also included serving as the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) offensive coordinator from 1999-2006 and as Samford University’s head coach from 2007-2014.
During the 2003 season at UAB, Sullivan was diagnosed with throat cancer — squamous cell carcinoma. He would go on to beat the cancer while only missing one game during the season.
His accolades from his playing days at Auburn are extensive. Sullivan, among many other honors and records he broke at the time, was twice named an All-American and won the Walter Camp Award as the nation’s best player in 1971. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1991. Sullivan is also a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame. His No. 7 jersey has been retired by Auburn.
Sullivan is survived by his wife — the former Jean Hicks — and their three children: Kim, Kelly and Patrick, Jr.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn