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Ridout's Valley Chapel

1800 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, AL

OBITUARY

Patrick "Pat" Joseph Sullivan

January 18, 1950December 1, 2019

Patrick Joseph Sullivan, 69, passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving family on Sunday, December 1, 2019. He was born in Birmingham, Alabama to Jerry Joseph Sullivan and Loraine Sullivan on January 18, 1950. Pat graduated from John Carroll High School in 1968, and went on to Auburn University where he graduated in 1971. He was the first Heisman Trophy winner from the state of Alabama in 1971. After several years in the NFL, he returned to Birmingham to the private business sector. At the age of 36, Pat left the private sector to answer his calling to mentor and empower young men through the game of football. Pat began his coaching career at Auburn University. He became the head coach at TCU in 1992. From there he coached at UAB and ultimately at Samford University where he was head coach from 2007-2014. After retiring from coaching in 2014, Pat served at Samford University as a Special Advisor to the President. Pat served on numerous boards including the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. He was most excited about the newly formed Sullivan Survivorship Program at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, a program dedicated to offering survivors of head and neck cancer multi-level, specialized and personalized approaches to recovery and survivorship. Pat was a man of faith and integrity. He was dedicated to enriching the lives of those around him. He selflessly loved the Lord, his family, and Jean, his wife of 50 years. Everyone who knew Pat knew his warmth, kindness, and exemplary positive spirit. Those traits and strength of character had a positive effect on so many friends and acquaintances. He offered love and encouragement to everyone he came in contact with. He viewed life with a grateful heart despite his health issues. Pat was preceded in death by his father, Jerry Joseph Sullivan and is survived by his mother, Loraine Sullivan, his wife, Jean Hicks Sullivan, children Kim Silliman (Chip), Kelly Pankey (Tripp), Patrick Sullivan (Claudia), grandchildren Alex, Jay, Taylor and Lucy Pankey; Mallory, Joseph, John Michael and Claire Sullivan; sisters Karen Brannum (Steve) and Connie LaRock (Joe), and brothers Joe Sullivan and Bill Sullivan (Palma). The family greatly appreciates the loving support of Darryl Dubose, Roderick Gardner, and Lawon Layfield. A celebration of life will be held at Church of the Highlands (Grants Mill Campus) on Friday, December 6, 2019, at 1:00 pm. Visitation will precede the celebration at 12:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be made to The Sullivan Survivorship Program at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, Samford University Athletics, or the charity of your choosing.

Services

  • Friends and Family are Cordially Invited to a Visitation Friday, December 6, 2019
  • A Memorial Service Honoring the Life of Pat Sullivan Friday, December 6, 2019

Memories

Patrick "Pat" Joseph Sullivan

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Hayes Rydel

December 6, 2019

A thousand words would not be enough. Coach Sullivan changed my life. He provided me with a shining example of what an honorable person acts like. He held me to the fire when I needed to be accountable. He is the reason why I stop, pause, and reflect every time I hear the song Lean on me. Coach thank you so much for everything you did. I feel your presence every time I walk the TCU campus. I am a better father, husband and teacher for having you in my life. I promise to represent your legacy in my home and in my classroom for the rest of my life. I love you coach!

Paul Culp

December 6, 2019

My dad was on the board of trustees at Auburn when Pat was playing football and I was just old enough to understand the game, and Pat became and has remained one of my heroes. He lived his entire adult life in public and enjoyed the same reputation for decency and humility at 69 that he had at 19. He will be missed by everyone who cares about all the fine things he stood for.

Carissa Cook

December 4, 2019

I was always impressed by his strength of character and his positive attitude. To the Sullivan family - You are in our thoughts and prayers. Take comfort in the knowledge that you will see him again. May God hold you in His eternal loving arms.

Melanie Dale

December 3, 2019

May God wrap his arms of love, peace and comfort around each one of you at this time. Pat was a true Auburn man. It was obvious how much he loved Auburn. RIP PAT!

Melanie Dale

Jamie Freeman

December 3, 2019

Grief comes from within and I am grieving with you as the Sullivan family has been so much apart of my life and Mack’s since college days at Auburn. I was standing by the Pat Sullivan Heisman Statue at the stadium Sunday afternoon when I was told of Pat’s passing . I stood there reflecting on so many football Saturdays when we were thrilled by his superb talent in the game...Sullivan to Beasley...still can ring in the ears of many Auburn fans.
Jean, Patrick, Kelly, and Kim, you and your father, Pat, have led exemplary lives to respect and honor. I treasure the years having personally known you. Continue to be who you are as you live with the legacy of Pat Sullivan, the Auburn icon not only football but a hero in life.
We love you and praying for God’s peace as you transition into living with the wonderful memories.

Cameron Adams

December 3, 2019

Sending my prayers to the Sullivan family. Pat Sullivan was an awesome man. Respectfully, Cameron Adams Montgomery, Alabama

Buddy McClinton

December 3, 2019

I was most fortunate to be one of Pat's teammates for two years ,his freshman and sophomore years and my Jr./Sr. years at Auburn. Pat was a natural born leader and one of the kindest and most generous men I have ever known. Even though he was in his first year starting for Auburn in 1968, everyone on the team recognized his leadership skills from his first game. That was remarkable in those times as "Seniors" were always the leaders back then. I remember being interviewed before the big game with Fla in 1968 and they were undefeated and led by great passing combo of QB John Reaves and Carlos Alvarez, and the reporter wanted to know how in the world did Auburn plan to stop this sensational passing combo. I said it would be simple for our defense faced the best passing combo of Pat to Terry Beasley everyday in practice. I meant it with all my heart. We went on not to just beat Fla. but intercepted 9 passes from Reaves that day and Pat Sullivan showed everyone who was the best QB. Pat..you will be missed my many but never ever forgotten..GOD BLESS Jean and all your family from your Auburn Family...Buddy McClinton

G.W. Clapp

December 3, 2019

R.I.P

Dick Ingwersen

December 2, 2019

Pat not only was a great football player, he was a great person.
I was a senior on the football team in 1969 when he was a sophomore. When someone asks me about playing with Pat, I always tell them first what a class person he was. I am proud to say I knew him and played with him. My wife Terry feels the same way about Pat and his wonderful wife Jean and our prayers go out to Jean and his whole family.

Warmest regards and condolences, Dick and Terry Ingwersen

Todd Boland

December 2, 2019

A truly great Auburn man.
Sure enjoyed my time with him on the Plains as well as with his son Patrick...
Patrick showed me the same type qualities!

FROM THE FAMILY