Heisman Trophy Winner Pat Sullivan Graduates to War Eagle Heaven

Chris Fernsler
Sports Editor

Life can be cruel.

Less than 24 hours after Auburn scored a startling 48-45 upset win over archrival Alabama last weekend, one of the Tigers football icons died.

Auburn All-American and Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan passed away on Sunday at the age of 69. The record-breaking quarterback fell victim to cancer, but he has been elevated to War Eagle heaven.

The Bible-thumping and football-throwing Sullivan lived a full life and a rather historic one. He had a rocket right arm, which Sullivan used to throw touchdown passes and win football games for Auburn from 1969-71.

Sullivan was a recordbreaking human being and remains a War Eagle legend with 53 touchdown passes and 6,534 yards. The 6-foot, 190-pound Sullivan shattered Auburn and NCAA records. He led the nation in all-purpose yards with 2,856 in the 1970 football season.

He was a playmaker and an All-American teammate for the Tigers. He rushed for 18 touchdowns in his Auburn football career. Sullivan was also known for his downfield spirals with some zip on the ball.

Sullivan-to-Beasley become one of the most dynamic passing combinations in college football history. Terry Beasley, the All-American wide receiver for Auburn, made 147 career catches for 2,624 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Most of those passes came from the right arm of Pat Sullivan. The No. 7 football jersey of Sullivan has been retired by Auburn. Sullivan is being remembered today as a good guy, the consummate teammate and a War Eagle football icon.

Sullivan left his mark and his legacy, which included Academic All-American status, as well as being the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1970. The Birmingham native is also a member of the Sugar Bowl Hall of Fame and the Gator Bowl Hall of Fame.

The War Eagle legend is also a permanent member of the college football Hall of Fame. Sullivan’s life is being celebrated as well after having played five years in the National Football League with the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins.

He tossed a few footballs on Sunday afternoon.

Sullivan also made a name for himself as a coach at Texas Christian University, Samford and Alabama-Birmingham. He was the Southwest Conference Coach of the Year in 1994 at TCU. Sullivan was also chosen the Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 2012 with the Samford Bulldogs.

He also served as the quarterback coach on Pat Dye’s football staff at Auburn back in the day. They don’t make them like Pat Sullivan anymore.

And that is unfortunate for college football.

The author of this article can be reached via email at info@troupcountynews.net.

 

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