Heisman winner, former coach Pat Sullivan dies

Former Auburn quarterback Pat Sullivan, the 1971 Heisman Trophy winner and later the head coach at TCU and Samford University, died on Sunday morning after a long battle with cancer, the university announced.

Sullivan, who had the disease since 2003, was 69.

Sullivan was a three-year starting quarterback at Auburn from 1969 to '71. Sullivan led the Tigers to a 26-7 record, and he and receiver Terry Beasley became one of the most celebrated duos -- and "Sullivan to Beasley" became a famous moniker -- in SEC football history.

The jersey numbers worn by Beasley, Sullivan and 1985 Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson are the only ones retired at Auburn.

Sullivan broke 24 Auburn records during his career and was a two-time All-American. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Sullivan, one of Auburn's all-time greats on and off the field," Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said. "I will forever be indebted to Coach Sullivan for helping bring me back to Auburn to serve as the head football coach.

"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."

Sullivan tied an NCAA career record with 71 total touchdowns (53 passing and 18 rushing). He led the country with 2,856 yards of total offense, averaged 8.57 yards per play and was SEC Player of the Year as a junior in 1970. He and Beasley led the Tigers back from a 17-0 deficit to defeat rival Alabama 33-28 in the Iron Bowl that season.

During his senior season in 1971, Sullivan threw for 2,012 yards with 20 touchdowns. Perhaps his greatest performance came at No. 7 Georgia on Nov. 13, 1971, when he threw four touchdowns -- two to Beasley -- to lead the No. 6 Tigers to a 35-20 victory. Twelve days later, Sullivan edged Cornell's Ed Marinaro to become Auburn's first Heisman Trophy winner.

Sullivan was a second-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1972 and played five seasons in the NFL. After working in private business and as a radio color commentator at his alma mater, Pat Dye hired him as Auburn's quarterbacks coach in 1986.

In 1992, TCU hired Sullivan as its head coach and his teams had a 24-42 record in six seasons. His best campaign was in 1994, when the Horned Frogs went 7-5 and claimed a share of a Southwest Conference title. He resigned after a 1-10 season in 1997.

Sullivan returned to his native Birmingham, Alabama, and worked as UAB's offensive coordinator for six seasons. In 2007, he was named head coach at FCS program Samford, where his father, Jerry, played with Bobby Bowden in 1949-50, and his teams had a 47-43 record in seven seasons.

Sullivan is survived by his wife, Jean, and their three children and eight grandchildren.