Pat Sullivan, former Heisman Trophy winner and Auburn legend, dies at age 69


Auburn legend and Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan has died at the age of 69, the school announced on Sunday.

"At the age of 69, Patrick Joseph "Pat" Sullivan died peacefully at home on the morning of Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, surrounded by his loving family," the Sullivan family said in a statement released by Auburn. "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."

Sullivan came to Auburn as a quarterback in 1968 and played three seasons with the Tigers. It was during his senior season of 1971 that Sullivan won the school's first Heisman Trophy after throwing for 2,012 yards and 20 touchdowns, beating out Cornell's Ed Marinaro and Oklahoma's Greg Pruitt for the award. He was also named to the All-American Team and won the Walter Camp Award that season. Auburn finished 9-2 on the year after starting the year 9-0, losing the Iron Bowl to Alabama and falling to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

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

Sullivan would go on to be drafted by the Atlanta Falcons and spent five seasons in the NFL before retiring from the sport. He returned to Auburn in 1986 to serve as the team's quarterbacks coach under Pat Dye. Sullivan would leave following the 1991 season after accepting the head coaching job at TCU. He lasted six seasons in Fort Worth, going 24-42-1. He then spent eight seasons as the offensive coordinator at UAB in his hometown before taking over at Samford, where he went 47-43 in eight seasons.

Sullivan was elected to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1981, and in 1988, he was a charter member of the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame. The field house at Samford was renamed in his honor.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991, and Auburn has retired his No. 7 jersey.

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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