Auburn legend Pat Sullivan passed away early Sunday morning after a long battle with cancer. He was 69.
Sullivan was one of the greatest high school football players ever in the state of Alabama, graduating from John Carroll High School in Birmingham. He was a three year starter at quarterback for the Tigers, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1971 while leading Auburn to a 9-2 record.
Just say “Punt Bama Punt” or “Kick 6” and all Auburn people know what you are talking about. But in the early 70’s there was no bigger phrase in the Southeastern Conference than “Sullivan to Beasley”. Sullivan teamed up with Montgomery’s Terry Beasley to form one of the most formidable passing duos in the nation, long before the advent of the spread offense. Auburn fans from that era can still see #7 back pedaling and slinging a rocket to the red haired #88 down the sideline. The picture of Sullivan and Beasley on the bench in their blue jerseys is a classic Auburn photo.
Sullivan had a quick release and with deadly accuracy. The Auburn quarterback was one of the nation’s first “playmakers” long before the term became part of football. If you covered everyone, he would scramble and kill you throwing on the run or using his speed to make the first down.
Sullivan later was an Auburn radio announcer, assistant coach at Auburn, head coach at TCU, offensive coordinator at UAB, as well as head coach at Samford.
Most of all, Pat Sullivan was a first class act and quite possibly the most important football player in the history of Auburn University.
Alabama high school football has produced some great quarterbacks, but there has never been a better one than Pat Sullivan.
Below is a video from the 1972 Sugar Bowl pregame show where TV legendary announcers Chris Schenkel and Bud Wilkinson talk about the Auburn legendary quarterback before his last Auburn game.