Auburn University

Sullivan won Auburn's first Heisman in 1971 after setting several school and SEC records and guiding the Tigers to a 9-1 regular season record.

Heisman Winner

Pat Sullivan

QB | Senior | Auburn University

Pat Sullivan won Auburn’s first Heisman in 1971 after setting several school and SEC records while guiding the Tigers to a 9-1 regular season record.

Sullivan was born in Birmingham, Ala., where he attended John Carroll Catholic High School and was a star in three sports. He excelled in football and won an athletic scholarship to Auburn in 1968, where he took over the starting quarterback spot as a sophomore (freshmen were not eligible prior to 1972).

He burst onto the college football scene in 1969, throwing for nearly 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns. As a junior, Sullivan’s statistics soared, as he led the nation with 2,856 yards of total offense, including 2,586 passing yards. Along the way, Auburn went 9-2 and ended the season in the Top Ten in the nation. For his efforts, Sullivan was named SEC Player of the Year and garnered All-SEC honors, athletically and academically.

But 1971 was to be Sullivan’s greatest year. The Tigers started out 9-0, cementing his claim to the Heisman with 248 yards and four touchdowns against Georgia. He threw for 2,012 yards and 20 touchdowns, edging out Cornell running back Ed Marinaro to capture the trophy named for Auburn’s former football coach. He was once again honored as SEC Player of the Year and was All-SEC athletically and academically for the second straight year.

Selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 1972 NFL draft, Sullivan had four seasons with the Falcons followed by one season split between the Washington Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers. He returned to Birmingham in 1977 and worked in the insurance business and as an executive at a tire company. For five years, he worked as a radio color commentator for Auburn and, in 1986, was named quarterbacks coach for the Tigers. Auburn won three SEC titles during Sullivan’s six seasons at his alma mater.

In 1992, Sullivan left Auburn to serve as head coach at TCU. He was later the offensive coordinator at UAB before being named the head coach at Samford. A cancer survivor, he became active in local charity organizations that benefit underprivileged children and served on the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Advisory Board.

Sullivan was elected to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1991.

He passed away on Dec. 1, 2019, at the age of 69. So popular in the state was Sullivan that in the summer before his death, he was voted as Alabama’s greatest prep player as well as its best quarterback in a summer-long state-wide poll.

More Articles About Pat Sullivan

Heisman Voting Results

Number of electors: 1260 - Announced: November 25, 1971.

 PlayerClassPositionSchoolTotal Points
1Pat SullivanSRQBAuburn1597
2Ed MarinaroSRRBCornell1445
3Greg PruittJRRBOklahoma586
4Johnny MussoSRRBAlabama365
5Lydell MitchellSRRBPenn State251
6Jack MildrenSRQBOklahoma208
7Jerry TaggeSRQBNebraska168
8Chuck EaleySRQBToledo137
9Walt PatulskiSRDENotre Dame121
10Eric AllenSRFBMichigan State109

Three points are awarded for first place on a ballot, with two points for second place and one point for third place.

Heisman Voting By Region

At this time, Heisman voters are spread out across five regions.


1Pat Sullivan
2Ed Marinaro
3Johnny Musso
4Greg Pruitt
5Lydell Mitchell


1Ed Marinaro
2Pat Sullivan
3Lydell Mitchell
4Greg Pruitt
5Walt Patulski


1Ed Marinaro
2Pat Sullivan
3Greg Pruitt
4Chuck Ealey
5Jerry Tagge


1Pat Sullivan
2Ed Marinaro
3Greg Pruitt
4Jack Mildren
5Johnny Musso

Far West

1Ed Marinaro
2Pat Sullivan
3Greg Pruitt
4Bob Moore
5Jack Mildren


Pat Sullivan’s Heisman Year Statistics

DateOpponentResultAttCompPct.YdsYPATDIntRatingRushesYdsYPCTDPlaysTotal OffYPPTotal TDs
9/18/71ChattanoogaW 60-7161381.21328.320191.803-4-1.330191286.732
9/25/71at #9 TennesseeW 10-9311445.11545.00086.89500.000361544.270
10/2/71KentuckyW 38-6251664.025310.122159.413124.000282659.462
10/9/71Southern MississippiW 27-14392358.92386.131130.49691.500452475.483
10/16/71at Georgia TechW 31-14342573.52818.331166.193-12-4.000372697.273
10/23/71ClemsonW 35-13311548.32046.61394.955265.200362306.381
10/30/71FloridaW 40-7301550.02418.021132.8111383.452412796.804
11/6/71Mississippi StateW 30-21241354.11405.831136.084256.250281655.893
11/13/71at GeorgiaW 35-20241458.324810.340197.336-8-1.330302408.004
11/27/71#4 AlabamaL 31-7271451.81214.50274.681-2-1.000281194.250
Heisman StatsAP #59-128116257.620127.22011133.4547841.78232820966.3922
1/1/72+ #2 OklahomaL 40-22442045.42505.71196.143-18-6.000472324.931
Totals9-2, #12 in AP32518256.022627.02112128.4050661.32237523286.2023

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