Former Auburn Football Coach Pat Dye Dead at 80

In this Dec. 27, 1988 photo, Auburn Coach Pat Dye leads his team during a practice for the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Credit…Bill Haber/Associated Press

Former Auburn football coach and athletic director Pat Dye, who was hospitalized last month for kidney-related issues, died Monday. He was 80.

Lee County (Alabama) coroner Bill Harris said Dye died at a hospice-care facility in Auburn from complications of kidney and liver failure.

Dye had tested positive for the coronavirus but was asymptomatic, his son, NFL agent Pat Dye Jr., told ESPN last month.

“On behalf of our family, I want to thank all of the people from around the country who have offered their support and admiration for Dad these past several days,” Dye Jr. said in a statement released Monday. “Dad would be honored and humbled to know about this overwhelming outreach. The world has lost a pretty good football coach and a great man. He was beloved, he touched so many lives and he will be missed by many, especially our family.”

Dye guided the Tigers to a 99-39-4 record in 12 seasons from 1981 to 1992, winning at least a share of SEC championships in 1983, ’87, ’88 and ’89. His Auburn teams won at least 10 games in a season four times and bowl games six times.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005, the same year the playing field at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium was named in his honor.

“Coach Dye was much more than a hall of fame coach and administrator at Auburn,” current Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement. “He was an Auburn leader and visionary. He not only returned the football program back to national prominence during his tenure, but was a key figure in bringing the Iron Bowl to Auburn and made an impact on the university and in the community. He embodied what Auburn is about: hard work, toughness and a blue collar mentality.”

Dye was a three-time SEC coach of the Year and the 1983 national coach of the year. He coached a Heisman Trophy winner (Bo Jackson, 1985); an Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award winner (Tracy Rocker, 1988); and 21 All-Americans, 71 All-SEC players and 48 Academic All-SEC players.

Dye was Auburn’s athletic director from 1981 to 1991. He also coached at East Carolina from 1974 to 1979 and Wyoming in 1980 and had a 153-62-5 record in 19 seasons overall.

He had been spending much of his time in recent years at his farm in Notasulga, Alabama.

Former Georgia coach and athletic director Vince Dooley, who played quarterback at Auburn in the 1950s, coached against Dye’s teams from 1981 to 1988.

“He was a very tough competitor,” Dooley told ESPN. “He related very well to his players. He was a real fighter in that respect and was right there in the trenches with them. We competed hard against each other, but we always had a good relationship.”

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SOURCE: ESPN, Mark Schlabach