Pat Dye, former head coach of the Auburn football team in the early 1980s into the early 1990s, died on Monday, according to 247Sports. He was 80 years old. Dye was hospitalized for the last few weeks, dealing with complications from COVID-19. He was recently at the East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika, Alabama, but was recently moved to Bethany House in Auburn.
"Coach Dye was a great man and he did so much for Auburn and Auburn football," Benji Roland said, who is one of the All-Americans who played for Dye at Auburn. "He will be missed." Dye became Auburn's head coach in 1981. During his time at Auburn, the team emerged as one of the top college football programs in the 1980s, winning the SEC title in 1983, 1987, 1988 and 1989. Dye became the fourth head coach in SEC history to win three consecutive conference championships. He was also a three-time winner of the SEC Coach of the Year award and coached running back Bo Jackson, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1985. Dye recorded a 99-39-4 record at Auburn and a 153-62-5 record in his entire coaching career. Before becoming the head coach at Auburn, Dye was coaching at East Carolina for six seasons and Wyoming for a year.
Interestingly enough, Dye started his coaching career at Alabama as a linebackers coach in 1965. At that time, Paul "Bear" Bryant was the head coach, and Dye asked him to be on the coaching staff. "I sent him a letter," Dye said in 2016 when talking about getting a job at Alabama. "I said, 'Coach, I'm still playing football, but if I had the chance to come to Alabama, I would give up playing for an opportunity to coach there.' A few days later, I got a letter back from him. He said, 'I haven't decided what kind of coach I want to hire, but if I decide to hire a young, inexperienced coach, I will give you consideration.'"
Dye played college football at the University of Georgia. He earned Freshman All-SEC honors in 1957 and made the SEC All-Sophmore Team the following season. Dye continued to improve his junior and senior seasons, which led to him earning all-conference and All-American honors.