Pat Sullivan was an All-American on and off the field
Not only has the Tiger program produced two Heisman Trophy winners, but John Heisman, the
namesake of college football’s highest individual award served as the schools first official head coach.
Heisman’s teams posted a 12-4-2 record in his five years that he led the school.
The Heisman name would return to the Auburn campus following the 1971 season when quarterback Pat
Sullivan received the trophy. While connecting with his favorite target, Terry Beasley, the two-time All-
American threw for 20 touchdowns and 2,012 yards while leading the Tigers to a 9-2, Sugar Bowl
season. Sullivan set an NCAA record for most yards per play with 8.57 and tied the mark for most career
touchdowns responsible for with 71. In the Heisman voting, Sullivan edged Cornell's Ed Marinaro with a
1,597 to 1445 margin.
The 6' tall and 190-pound star not only earned high marks for his overall 26-7 record at Auburn, but he gained merit in the classroom as well. The Heisman winner was named an Academic All-American and graduated with a bachelor's of science in business
administration in 1972.
The Atlanta Falcons picked Sullivan in the second round of 1972 draft and he stayed in the league for five
seasons that included stints with Atlanta, Washington and San Francisco.
With his playing days behind him, Pat Sullivan began new ventures that would include a stint as an
Auburn football broadcaster, the launching of his coaching career and a fight for his life as well.
After serving as an assistant coach at Auburn for six seasons,
Sullivan earned his first head coaching
position. As the new mentor of TCU football (1992-97), Sullivan initially enjoyed quick success as he
helped lead the Horned Frogs to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 42 years.
The 1994 Southwest Conference Coach of the Year generated enough buzz that LSU offered him their
head coaching position. Due to contract buyout restrictions, Sullivan and LSU were unable to finalize the
deal and the former Heisman winner stayed in Fort Worth. However, the TCU program quickly fell on hard
times and Sullivan resigned after a 1-10 season in 1997.
A new obstacle surfaced when Sullivan was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2003 while he was serving
as UAB's offensive coordinator. With the disease in remission, Sullivan has been able to focus on new
Prior to the 2007 season, Sullivan became the head coach of Samford University in Birmingham. As the
Birmingham native prepared for his first season at the helm, Sullivan sounded content when interviewed
by the Associated Press.
"For me to be able to do what I enjoy doing, which is coach kids and be around the people that I want to be around and do it in the place where I want to live, Sullivan said. "I mean, what else do I need."