Pat Sullivan, former Auburn University quarterback and the school's first Heisman Trophy winner, died on Sunday morning according to USA Today. He was 69 years old. Sullivan's family announced his passing, and it was revealed he was suffering from cancer.
"He was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and fought a long and difficult battle as a result of his treatments," the Sullivan family said in a statement released through Auburn University. "The family is appreciative of everyone’s outpouring of love and support.”
Sullivan played for the Tigers from 1968-71. He won the Heisman Trophy during his senior season after throwing for 2,262 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 66 yards and two scores while leading Auburn to a 9-2 record. Sullivan finished his career with 6,534 passing yards and 54 touchdowns while also scoring on 18 rushing touchdowns. Along with winning the Heisman, Sullivan was named to the All-America Team and he won the Walter Camp Award which is given to the nation's best college football player.
After college, Sullivan played in the NFL for five seasons. He spent time with the Atlanta Falcons and Washington Redskins and he played in 30 games during that span. When he was done with the NFL, Sullivan became a college coach. He was the quarterbacks coach at Auburn from 1986-1991 and he was the head coach for TCU and Samford. During his time at TCU, Sullivan was known for recruiting LaDainian Tomlinson who became one of the best running backs in NFL history. He was the head coach at Samford from 2007-2014 and he led the Bulldogs to a Southern Conference title in 2013.
“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. "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. He certainly will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pat’s wife, Jean, their three children and the entire Sullivan family.”
Sullivan was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991. He is survived by his wife, the former Jean Hicks, and their three children.