Pat Dye, Former Auburn and Hall of Fame Coach, Dies at 80

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2020

Auburn coach Pat Dye walks through his players as they begin workouts in preparation for the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Dec. 27, 1988.  Dye will lead the Tigers against Florida State on January 2.  (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
BILL HABER/Associated Press

Auburn announced former football coach Pat Dye has died at age 80:

Dye had tested positive for the coronavirus in May while he was already hospitalized for kidney-related issues. His son, Pat Dye Jr., told Mark Schlabach of ESPN the former coach was asymptomatic for the respiratory disease.

The Georgia native had spent 12 years leading the Tigers from 1981 to 1992 as part of a 19-year career as a Division I head coach. Including stops at Wyoming and East Carolina, he accumulated a 153-62-5 career record.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005, while the field at Jordan-Hare Stadium was also named in his honor that year.

Dye helped build Auburn into a consistent SEC power, winning four conference titles while earning at least eight wins in nine straight seasons. He produced a 6-2-1 bowl record from 1982 to 1990.

The program had gone seven years without a bowl appearance before that stretch.

His success helped him earn the SEC Coach of the Year award three times during his tenure with the team.

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"People will talk about all of the games Coach Dye won, all the championships and bowl games, but his greatest contribution is the difference he made in the minds of his players and the people who worked for him," former Auburn athletics director David Housel told John Talty of AL.com. "I am one of them. He made a difference in my life.

"He came to Auburn at a time when Auburn needed leadership and focus. He provided that leadership and focus, and Auburn will be forever better because of him."

Before becoming a head coach, Dye played his college football at Georgia. He also spent nine years as an assistant for Alabama under the legendary Bear Bryant before getting his first head coaching job at East Carolina in 1974.

After his retirement from coaching, he had spent time at his farm in Notasulga, Alabama.