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RIP Pat Sullivan

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Neutral Corner, Dec 1, 2019.

  1. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

  2. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    I was just talking to people yesterday about the great Auburn comeback he led in the 1970 Iron Bowl.
  3. Slacker

    Slacker Well-Known Member

    Hope he saw yesterday's game.
    He will have died a happy, happy man.
    cyclingwriter2 likes this.
  4. Batman

    Batman Well-Known Member

    He's at the center of one of those great "What if?" chain reaction decisions that might have altered a lot of the football landscape as we know it today if it had turned out differently.

    Back in 1994, LSU was set to hire him away from TCU. They had an agreement in place, but LSU didn't want to pay the buyout. So Sullivan stayed at TCU for a few more seasons with dwindling success, resigned in 1997, and was succeeded by Dennis Franchione who started to turn the program around. That process continued under Gary Patterson, who took TCU to mid-major national prominence that eventually got them into the Big 12.
    Instead of Sullivan, LSU wound up hiring Gerry DiNardo. DiNardo gave a shot of adrenaline to a floundering LSU program but fizzled out in 1998 and '99, which led to them hiring Nick Saban and becoming a true national power.
    Meanwhile, Franchione's success as Sullivan's successor at TCU led Alabama to hire him. He was, of course, the second in a string of extremely underwhelming Alabama coaches who got the fanbase so pissed off that they eventually went headhunting and brought in Saban to turn them back into the Alabama we all know and despise.

    Saban has his own chain reaction of events connected to him, mostly centered around the Dolphins' decision not to sign Drew Brees, that make for its own great "What if?" discussion. But you can trace the roots of all of that back to Pat Sullivan staying at TCU instead of coming to LSU in late 1994. It's a very convoluted path, as these things always are, but it's interesting to follow it all back to that one moment in time and see how many programs -- and even conferences and leagues -- have had their fortunes affected for the past 25 years by that one seemingly inconsequential decision.
    Slacker and maumann like this.
  5. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

    There is also quite a chapter to be written about what happened to Sullivan at UAB. Mac Brown's brother Watson Brown was HC, and late in his career there was also AD. Brown had been OC at Miss St and Oklahoma, as well as HC at Rice and Vanderbilt. By the time he got out of coaching he was also the losingest coach in NCAA Football history, displacing Amos Alonzo Stagg while coaching 200 less games (and not winning over 300 as Stagg did). Pat was hired as QB coach/OC in 1999. Over time he became UAB's "HC in waiting".

    Here's where things get a little unclear. There are a number of stories surrounding Watson and Pat's relationship, especially late in Pat's time at UAB. Insiders who know say that Pat talked to Watson in 2005 about taking the HC/AD job at Tennessee Tech. Watson discouraged the idea - and then interviewed there himself, as he knew he was likely near his last season as HC at UAB. Tennessee Tech was Brown's alma mater. Hard feelings ensued. Watson also took over the QB coaching job in 2005-6, moving Pat to coach the RB's. In any case, when Watson was being pushed out as HC at the end of the '05-6 season after winning three games coaching a team with 35 seniors, he tried to remain as AD. Pat had put in his time as the HC in waiting, but when that time came, Paul Bryant, Jr. decreed that "No Auburn man would ever be a HC at an Alabama system school." Once Pat found out that he was not going to get the offer, he took the HC job at Samford.

    Pat was done dirty, no doubt. Where to place the blame is not entirely certain, although the malign hand of the 'Bama Board of Trustees/PBJ was certainly involved. I don't know to what degree Watson was involved in that screw job. UAB President Carol Garrison had approved Pat as HC in a Wednesday morning meeting, but after the lunch break a call came from the Trustees killing the hire. I don't know whether Watson dropped a dime and screwed Pat or if it was purely done by PBJ. In any case he was out.

    The follow up was the disallowed hire of Jimbo Fisher by UAB, which was shot down by the UA BoT on the basis of his contract "costing too much". UAB Boosters were picking up half of his contracted $700k to get him. This was going on just as Saban was negotiating for the UA job. Apparently the BoT wanted Jimbo to stay on the market as he had been Saban's OC at LSU and they wanted to keep him available if Nick wanted to hire him. Jimbo was at the airport with a plane on the ground to take him to Birmingham when that hire was killed. Instead Neal Calloway was hired and years more of mediocre to outright horrible UAB football continued.

    Pat was nothing but pure class in any dealings with him that I am aware of. My Facebook is full of posts today from his UAB players, saying what an influence he was on them and that they would not be the men they are today without him.

    Rest well, Pat Sullivan.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2019
  6. John

    John Well-Known Member

    I dealt with Pat a lot when he was at Samford and thoroughly enjoyed every interaction. A good and decent man.
    garrow and Neutral Corner like this.
  7. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

    Legacy of football legend Pat Sullivan is unique and unparalleled

    "The recruitment for Sullivan was so intense that his parents, Jerry and Lorraine, created a weekly schedule for their son during his senior football season so he could manage his time. Mondays were reserved for dinners with Alabama coaches. Tuesdays were for Auburn.

    Sullivan chose Auburn over Alabama after a long and unexpected visit with Auburn’s legendary coach. He formed a lasting relationship with Jordan while walking to Legion Field for an exhibition NFL football game.

    Sullivan was attending the game with Jordan as his guest, and the coach’s car broke down while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Bryant drove by with a police escort, and Sullivan asked who it could be.
    “Boy, that’s Coach Bryant,” Jordan said. “You can either ride with him or walk with me.”

    Sullivan loved that story. He valued the friendships he formed through football perhaps more than the game itself. He never stopped making new friends."
    HanSenSE and Batman like this.
  8. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    He had 21 TDs and 13 INTs in his Heisman year. Such a different game nowadays.

  9. Neutral Corner

    Neutral Corner Well-Known Member

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