Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Heisman Trophy winner and former college football coach Pat Sullivan has died at 69 years old, following a long battle with cancer.
Sullivan died Sunday. He became Auburn's first Heisman Trophy winner in 1971.
"At the age of 69, Patrick Joseph 'Pat' Sullivan died peacefully at home on the morning of Sunday, Dec. 1 surrounded by his loving family," the Sullivan family said in a statement. "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 signed with Auburn in 1968 after starring as a three-sport athlete at John Carroll Catholic High School in Birmingham, Ala. He was one of the best quarterbacks in college football during his sophomore campaign, passing for nearly 1,700 yards and 16 scores. He led the nation with 2,856 yards of total offense during his junior campaign. Sullivan led the Tigers to a 9-0 start in 1971, while passing for 2,012 yards and 20 touchdowns, en route to the Heisman Trophy.
Sullivan finished his collegiate career with 6,284 passing yards and a school-record 53 touchdown passes. He also rushed for 18 scores. He was a second-round pick in the 1972 NFL Draft. Sullivan played four seasons for the Atlanta Falcons before spending time with the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Pat Sullivan, one of Auburn's all-time greats on and off the field," Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said in a news release. "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."
Sullivan, Bo Jackson and Terry Beasley are the only Auburn players to have their jerseys retired. Sullivan worked as a radio commentator for Auburn before joining coach Pat Dye's staff as a quarterbacks coach in 1986. He spent six seasons on the Auburn coaching staff. He was TCU coach from 1992 to1997. He was UAB's offensive coordinator from 1999 to 2006, before serving as Samford coach from 2007 to 2014.
"On behalf of the Auburn family, we are heartbroken by the passing of Pat Sullivan," Auburn athletic director Allen Greene said. "He was a kind and humble gentleman, who is 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."
Sullivan is a member of the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the National High School Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.
He is survived by wife Jean, three children and eight grandchildren.