Heisman victor, former coach Pat Sullivan dies at 69

Pat Sullivan brought his Samford Bulldogs to play Auburn in 2014

A few years later, Sullivan was diagnosed with throat cancer, which was followed by radiation treatments that caused the former Auburn quarterback to need a feeding tube and oxygen to help him breathe. Sullivan was 69 years old.

Pat Sullivan, a revered figure in Alabama sports, died Sunday at age 69. He served as the head coach of Texas Christian University from 1992 to 1997 and later Samford University.

A three-sport star at John Carroll Catholic High School, Sullivan signed with Auburn in 1968, before freshmen were eligible to play varsity football. The Heisman Trophy victor had a varied career but was best known for his years as a college football quarterback and coach-and his optimism in the face of cancer, 247 Sports recalls.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Sullivan, one of Auburn's all-time greats on and off the field", Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement.

Sullivan threw for 248 yards and four touchdowns to beat Georgia.

In 1986 he joined Coach Pat Dye's staff as quarterbacks coach at Auburn.

In this photo of December 2, 1971, Auburn quarterback Pat Sullivan poses with his Heisman trophy after his presentation at the Downtown Athletic Club in NY.

Sullivan had three victories against Alabama as a player, and four consecutive Iron Bowl victories later as an Auburn assistant coach. "He was a friend, mentor and a man of great character, who was beloved by many generations of Auburn fans".

Pat Sullivan was the first player from Alabama to win the Heisman Trophy, and he did it excelling at a style of football that had seldom been seen at Auburn or anywhere else in the state.

Sullivan became a program-altering player at Auburn for his ability as a passer, which allowed Jordan to modernize his offense.

Sullivan step down as Samford's head coach in 2014 after eight seasons to move into another role at the university, the university said.

After his playing career came to an end, Sullivan went into coaching.

Sullivan's family, in a statement Sunday, said he died at home, surrounded by loved ones.

"Pat Sullivan has given everything and more than anything we could have asked Samford", said Samford President Andrew Westmoreland.

Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group.

Sullivan and his wife, Jean, have three children, daughter Kim, and twins Kelly and Patrick. 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.

Auburn Director of Athletics Allen Greene: "On behalf of the Auburn family, we are heartbroken by the passing of Pat Sullivan".

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