MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Auburn football legend Pat Sullivan has died at the age of 69.
The news was first reported by 247 Sports. According to a statement from the Sullivan family, Sullivan died peacefully at home Sunday morning, surrounded by his family.
“He was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and fought a long and difficult battle as a result of his treatments,” the statement reads. "The family is appreciative of everyone’s outpouring of love and support.”
“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 won an athletic scholarship to Auburn in 1968, where he took over as starting quarterback as a sophomore. He won Auburn’s first Heisman in 1971 and set several school and SEC records. He was a two-time All-American and was named the SEC Player of the Year as a junior and senior.
Sullivan concluded his Auburn career with 6,284 passing yards and 53 touchdown passes. Sullivan’s 53 TD passes remain the most in Auburn history. He also rushed for 18 career touchdowns.
“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. He later coached, first as quarterback coach at Auburn then 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 Football Hall of Fame. He is also enshrined in the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the National High School Hall of Fame.