Auburn's first Heisman Trophy victor Pat Sullivan dies at 69

Breaking News            Getty

Breaking News Getty

Sullivan, the victor of the 1971 Heisman Trophy in Auburn who was coach of TCU and Samford, died on Sunday, December 1, 2019.

The Auburn legend coached his final football game in 2014. "The household is appreciative of everybody's outpouring of affection and assist". "Right now I need more balance in my life", Sullivan said in announcing his resignation. "I will always be grateful to coach Sullivan for helping me get back to Auburn to be head coach".

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.

Sullivan died one day after Auburn upset arch rival Alabama in the Iron Bowl, 48-45. Auburn's first Heisman victor ever - has died, according to his family.

Sullivan and Beasley's uniform numbers, 7 and 88, along with Jackson's No. 34, are the only three Auburn jerseys to be retired.

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Sullivan's family released a statement saying he "died peacefully at home" Sunday morning, surrounded by relatives. He is famous for his playing days at Auburn, but leading young people as a coach was his lifelong passion.

"Pat Sullivan has given everything and more than anything we could have asked Samford", said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland. Sullivan was an excellent runner, too, and in 1970 he led college football in total offense (2,856), and set an NCAA record for yards per play (8.57). He finished his senior season with 2,012 passing yards and a career-best 20 touchdown passes. Sullivan also won the Walter Camp Award that season. He is still Auburn's career leader with 53 touchdown passes and ranks fifth in school history with 6,284 passing yards. He also rushed for 18 scores.

Sullivan was an National Football League second-round pick after his time at Auburn, playing for the 1972-75 Falcons and the Redskins in 1976. He started his own business thereafter, returning to coaching in 1986 to join Pat Dye's Auburn staff through 1991 as the Tigers' quarterbacks coach. Quarterback Cam Newton won the award in 2010 and running back Bo Jackson received the honor in 1985. A member of the College Football Hall of Fame and Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, Sullivan is beloved by three college football fan bases in the state: Auburn, UAB and Samford. 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.

Sullivan is survived by his wife, Jean; his children, Kim, Kelly and Patrick; and eight grandchildren.

"On behalf of the Auburn family, we are heartbroken by the passing of Pat Sullivan", Auburn athletic director Allen Greene said.

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