BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Former Auburn Quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Patrick Joseph “Pat” Sullivan passed away Sunday morning at the age of 69.
According to his family, Sullivan died peacefully at home, 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.
“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.”
Sullivan was a graduate of John Carroll Catholic High School he went to Auburn on an athletic scholarship in 1968, He took over as starting quarterback his sophomore year and won Auburn’s first Heisman in 1971 and set several school and SEC records.
“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.”
In the 1972 NFL draft, Sullivan was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round. He played four seasons with the Falcons and split one season between the Washington Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers.
In 1986 he joined Coach Pat Dye’s staff as quarterbacks coach at Auburn. Sullivan spent six seasons on the Auburn staff, before moving on as head coach at Texas Christian University, offensive coordinator at UAB, and head coach at Samford.
In 1991, Sullivan was elected to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
“Pat made an immeasurable impact on Auburn as a student-athlete and as an alum. He will be missed. Susie and I send our prayers and heartfelt condolences to his family,” said Auburn University President Dr. Jay Gogue.
Sullivan and his wife, Jean, have three children, daughter Kim, and twins Kelly and Patrick. They also have eight grandchildren.