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Heisman trophy victor Pat Sullivan passes away

04 December 2019

It's being reported that former Heisman victor Pat Sullivan passed away over the weekend at the age of 69.

He had a long career working in college football. and eventually bowed out completely in 2014. Brother Chistopher Ilg of the Missionary Servants of the Most Blessed Trinity, a former player for the Cleveland Browns, coached the team, and Sullivan considered Brother Ilg one of the most important influences of his life.

The school confirmed the news in a statement provided by Sullivan's family.

As The Plains erupted in celebration following the Auburn Tigers' incredible 48-45 victory over the fifth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, one of Auburn University's most iconic alumni passed away late Saturday night.

Sullivan played three seasons for the Tigers, winning the Heisman trophy during his senior season, when he threw 162-281 for 2,012 yards and 20 touchdowns. Twelve days later, Sullivan edged Cornell's Ed Marinaro to become Auburn's first Heisman Trophy victor.

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

"At the age of 69, Patrick Joseph "Pat" Sullivan died peacefully at home on the morning of Sunday, December 1, 2019 surrounded by his loving family".

Freshmen weren't eligible for varsity competition when Sullivan arrived on the Plains, so he had to wait until 1969 to take his first snaps for Auburn. 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).

Auburn finished 9-2 that season and lost to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl. Sullivan's 53 TD passes remain the most in Auburn history.

The demand for tickets to watch "Sullivan to Beasley" was so great that it allowed Auburn to start its mandatory season-ticket plan. He also rushed for 18 career touchdowns.

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Sullivan got back on the field as Auburns' quarterbacks coach in 1986.

After playing for the Tigers, he was a second round draft pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 1972 NFL Draft.

Sullivan was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. He began as quarterbacks coach at Auburn under head coach Pat Dye before taking over as head coach of the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs in 1992.

"He was a kind and humble gentleman, who was an Auburn legend", Auburn Director of Athletics Allen Greene said in a statement.

After being deemed cancer-free, Sullivan continued coaching the game he loved and went on to be head coach of the Samford Bulldogs for eight seasons, leading the program to the FCS Playoffs for the first time in 21 years in 2013.

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Heisman trophy victor Pat Sullivan passes away