Auburn's first Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan dies at 69

Pat Sullivan was the first of three Heisman Trophy winners at Auburn alongside Bo Jackson and Cam Newton. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Auburn football lost an icon on Sunday with the death of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Pat Sullivan at 69 years old.

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

"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. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2003 and fought a long and difficult battle as a result of his treatments. The family is appreciative of everyone's outpouring of love and support.”

Sullivan played three seasons at quarterback for the Tigers from 1969-71 and won the Heisman Trophy during his senior season that saw him throw for 2,262 yards with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

Auburn finished 9-2 that season and lost to Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl.

Sullivan immortalized alongside Jackson, Newton

He was the first of three Heisman Trophy winners at Auburn. In 2012, the university unveiled a bronze statue of Sullivan outside Jordan-Hare Stadium alongside fellow Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson and Cam Newton. His 53 career passing touchdowns remain an Auburn record.

His No. 7 has been retired at Auburn, and he’s a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Sullivan’s death arrives a day after Auburn defeated Alabama 48-45 in a thrilling Iron Bowl.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Sullivan, one of Auburn's all-time greats on and off the field,” head 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.”

After Auburn, Sullivan played four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons and one with the Washington Redskins in the NFL.

Sullivan’s coaching career

He later worked as a color commentator covering the Tigers for Auburn radio and spent six seasons from 1986-91 as Auburn’s quarterbacks coach under head coach Pat Dye.

Later in life he served as the head coach at Samford and TCU, where he recruited Pro Football Hall of Famer running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

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

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