Pat Sullivan Biography
Pat Sullivan (Patrick Joseph Sullivan) was an American football player and coach. He was the 1971 Heisman Trophy winner at Auburn and went on to coach TCU and Samford. He died on December 1, 2019 at the age of 69 from throat cancer.
He was a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Samford University Hall of Fame and the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame. In 2014 the Samford University field house was renamed in his honor.
Pat Sullivan Age – How Old Is Pat Sullivan
Pat was 69 years old at the time of his death; he was born on January 18, 1950 in Birmingham, Alabama.
Pat Sullivan Wife and Children
Pat is survived by his wife Jean Hicks, and their three children, Kim and twins Kelly and Patrick Jr.
Pat Sullivan Auburn
Pat starred at Auburn from 1969-71, leading the Tigers to a 26-7 record as starting quarterback. That included a senior campaign in 1971 that saw Sullivan win the Heisman Trophy, the first in program history, after he threw for more 2,262 yards and 21 touchdowns while leading Auburn to a 9-2 season.
Sullivan still holds he Auburn career record for touchdown passes (53) and ranks fifth in yards (6,284). He finished his Auburn career with 6,534 passing yards.
Following his Auburn career, Sullivan was selected in the second round of the 1972 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons, but he started just four games in four years before ending his career with the Washington Redskins.
Pat Sullivan Coach
In 1986 Pat joined the Tigers’ coaching staff as quarterbacks coach. He helped the Tigers win four straight Iron Bowls from 1986-89. In 1992 he got his first head coaching job at TCU, posting a 24-42-1 overall record in six seasons. He remained with the Horned Frogs through 1997, going 24-42-1 during his tenure. Sullivan’s time at TCU included a 7-5 season in 1994 that resulted in his being named Southwest Conference Coach of the Year.
In 1999, Sullivan became the offensive coordinator at UAB under Watson Brown and held that position through 2006 before taking over as head coach at Samford.
He remained with Samford through 2014, guiding the Bulldogs to a 47-43 record over eight seasons, including four straight winning seasons from 2011-14, a stretch that included a Southern Conference championship in 2013. Sullivan retired following the 2014 season at Samford.
Pat Sullivan Heisman Trophy Winner
In 1971 Pat won the Heisman Trophy, becoming the first in-state player to win the trophy. He threw for 2,262 yards and 21 touchdowns overall, including a four-touchdown game against Georgia that helped sew up the Heisman over Cornell running back Ed Marinaro.
Pat Sullivan Cancer – Pat Sullivan Illness
In September 2003 Pat was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a form of cancer that begins in the squamous cells that line the structures found in the head and neck. He attributes his cancer diagnosis to 25 years of smokeless tobacco use which he said he had given up a month before the diagnosis.
“Ironically, I gave up this habit a month before I was diagnosed last summer. I came back, noticed a little swelling in my glands, and went to see Mike Jones, UAB’s head athletics trainer. I was treated for swimmer’s ear with antibiotics. After about 10 days I told Mike the swelling had not gone down. At his insistence, I went to see Dr. (William) Carroll, a head and neck surgeon in the UAB Division of Otolaryngology. The primary tumor was detected in the base of the tongue.”
Pat Sullivan Death – Pat Sullivan Died
His family confirmed his death in a statement that read; “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.”
In a statement, Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said; “We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Sullivan, one of Auburn’s all-time greats on and off the field. 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.”
Auburn athletics director Allen Greene said in a statement; “On behalf of the Auburn family, we are heartbroken by the passing of Pat Sullivan. He was a kind and humble gentleman, who was an Auburn legend. He made a lasting impact on Auburn as the school’s first Heisman Trophy winner, a coach and longtime ambassador. We extend our deepest condolences to the entire Sullivan family.”
Pat Sullivan Cause of Death
Pat died of cancer.