Pat Sullivan, Auburn’s first Heisman Trophy winner and one of the program’s all-time greats, passed away Sunday at the age of 69. A native of Birmingham, Sullivan was a three-year starter at quarterback at Auburn from 1969-71, winning the Heisman Trophy as a senior in 1971. He was a two-time All-American and named the SEC Player of the Year as a junior and senior.
A three-sport star at John Carroll Catholic, Sullivan signed with Auburn in 1968, before freshmen were eligible to play varsity football. As a sophomore in 1969, Sullivan emerged as one of college football’s elite quarterbacks, passing for nearly 1,700 yards with 16 touchdowns. As a junior in 1970, he led the nation in total offense with 2,856 yards (2,586 pass/270 rush), leading Auburn to a 9-2 record and top 10 ranking, teaming with receiver Terry Beasley to create the SEC’s most feared passing combination. Sullivan (7) and Beasley’s (88) uniform numbers, along with 1985 Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson’s No. 34, are the only three Auburn jerseys to be retired. In 1971, Sullivan led the Tigers to a 9-0 start, securing Auburn’s first Heisman Trophy with a 248-yard, four-touchdown performance against Georgia. In the Heisman voting, Sullivan edged Cornell’s Ed Marinaro, 1,597-1,445. He finished his senior season with 2,012 passing yards and a career-best 20 touchdown passes.