Legendary Auburn coach Pat Dye passed away Monday. Dye coached the Tigers from 1981-1992 and was the school's athletic director from 1981-1991.
Dye won SEC Coach of the Year three times during his time on the Plains and led the Tigers to four SEC Championships. He was instrumental in bringing The Iron Bowl to Auburn for the first time in program history in 1989.
Tributes and condolences poured in from sports figures and notable alumni following the news of Dye's passing.
Gus Malzahn, Auburn football head coach
“Coach Dye was much more than a hall of fame coach and administrator at Auburn. 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.
Coach Dye’s impact on Auburn is endless and will stand the test of time. He had a great and deep love for Auburn and he displayed that affinity daily. I’m very appreciative of his support and friendship through the years. It’s a sad day. Coach Dye was a treasure and will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, his former players and coaches and the entire Auburn family.”
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Allen Greene, Auburn athletic director
“For four decades, Coach Dye showed all of us what it looks like to be an Auburn person. His coaching exploits are well known, securing his induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. His skills as an administrator were equally formidable, resulting most notably in bringing the Iron Bowl to Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Just like his football teams, Pat Dye the athletic director was tenacious, never backing down from a fight when he believed Auburn’s good name and best interests demanded it. Thanks to his tenacity, I’ll always treasure my first home Iron Bowl, celebrating victory on the field that bears his name.
It’s been a blessing to get to know Coach Dye in his retirement years in his role as a passionate supporter of all of Auburn Athletics. Ever the coach, I’ve witnessed him on countless occasions pouring into our student-athletes. In that sense, he never stopped being Coach Dye. On behalf of the Auburn Family, we extend our deepest condolences to the family of Patrick Fain Dye, whose love and loyalty for Auburn rendered a contribution we can never fully measure or repay.”
Pat Dye Jr., Dye's son.
“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. 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.”
Vince Dooley, former Georgia head coach (1964-1981)
“It’s sad to learn of Coach Dye’s passing. Our condolences to his family, his close associates, and friends. We competed hard as coaches but remained good friends and after football shared our love of plants, especially Japanese Maples. Pat was a solid, fundamental football coach who related well with his players. And he certainly endeared himself to the Auburn people by moving the annual Auburn-Alabama game from Birmingham to home-and-home. He will be missed by us all.”
Fran Tarkenton, Former Georgia teammate (1957-60)
“I never played with a greater football player than Pat Dye. He was the ultimate teammate, and I loved the guy. He had so many assets as a player: quick, creative, as great of a competitor as I ever played with. He was instinctive as all great players are. He just simply would not be denied. He loved the physical contact, he liked to mix it up. This is a tough day for me. I've lost a lot of teammates in recent years, but this one really hurts. I've lost one of the best friends I have ever had.”
Jay Jacobs, former Auburn athletic director (2005-18)
“Coach Dye changed the course of Auburn Athletics and Auburn University when he walked on campus. He personified the Auburn Creed.
He impacted countless lives and continues to impact lives today because of who he was and what he wanted for Auburn. The entire Auburn family continues to benefit from him.
This has nothing to do with winning and losing games. It has to do with building character and persistence in young men. That’s what he did. He took regular boys, and if you went through his program, you became better for it. That’s his legacy. We had a chance to win games and championships, but his legacy is how he’s revered by players because of the way he profoundly impacted our lives positively forever.
Because of his relentless pursuit of excellence, he made us all better. He molded everyone into champions. He gave us the courage to have a spirit that is not afraid. He gave us poise and confidence to be who we are today - dads, husbands, brothers, community leaders, whatever it may be. He forged in us an attitude of excellence and toughness. He taught us that when you fall, to get up and go harder.”
Hal Baird, former Auburn baseball coach (1985-00)
“Coach Dye was a mentor and a friend for 46 years. I was with him when he coached his first football game at East Carolina and his last game at Auburn. He was a giant of a man and touched hundreds if not thousands of people. Everyone that he touched would say the same thing, that his life was built on a core of values that he taught to his players, coaches and staff. It’s a huge loss. He left an indelible impression on college football, on Auburn and really the entire country.”
David Housel, former Auburn athletic director (1994-05)
“People will talk about all of the games coach dye won, all of those champions and bowl games, but his greatest contribution, his legacy, is the difference he made in the lives of his players and the people who worked for him. 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.”
Quentin Riggins, former All-SEC Auburn linebacker (1986-89)
“Coach Dye was special to me. I was not the stereotypical 6-4, 220-pound linebacker. I didn’t fit the specifications to be chosen to play that position. But somehow he saw something in me that could help Auburn and his football team. I’ll never forget him taking the chance on me in 1986 when he could have recruited anyone in the state at that position.
A large part of it was because my senior year in high school, I left a football game at halftime. It was the SW Louisiana game during Bo Jackson’s senior year. My dad told Coach Dye we couldn’t stay for the entire game because I had to work at 5 p.m. back home at McDonald’s. Little did I know that’s what struck his interest in me, that on a Saturday you can come to a football game, meet Bo Jackson and have an excuse to miss work, but leave at halftime to go to work. He’s told that story numerous times. Coach Dye wanted players like Bo, Frank Thomas, Reggie Slack and Lawyer Tillman, but he also saw past 4.3, 6-4, 250 and saw one of the ingredients that made a winning player and team. That’s what he went for.
I got a chance to talk to Coach about two weeks ago, to hear his voice and tell him I loved him. Hearing him talk was special to me. His toughness, his opening press conference when he said how long it was going to take to beat Alabama, Tiger Walk, and winning the fourth quarter...those are just a few of the marks he left on Auburn. Nobody can take that away from him. He left such an incredible, indelible mark. Players and fans of today are benefitting from his contributions to Auburn.”
Bo Nix, Auburn quarterback
Derrick Brown, former Auburn defensive lineman (2016-19)
Kerryon Johnson, former Auburn running back (2015-17)
Frank Thomas, Hall of Fame first baseman (1987-89)
Butch Thompson, Auburn baseball head coach
Morgan Jackson, Bo Jackson's daughter
Big Kat Bryant, Auburn defensive end
Marlon Davidson, former Auburn defensive lineman (2016-19)
Deshaun Davis, former Auburn linebacker (2014-18)
Kodi Burns, Auburn wide receiver's coach
Darius Slayton, former Auburn receiver (2016-18)
Anthony Schwartz, Auburn receiver
K.J. Britt, Auburn linebacker
Mack Brown, North Carolina football head coach
Jeff Graba, Auburn gymnastics coach
Travis Williams, Auburn linebackers coach
Tommy Tuberville, former Auburn football head coach (1999-08)
Nick Saban, Alabama football head coach
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