AUBURN, Ala. (WBRC) - Legendary and beloved Auburn coach Pat Dye died Monday, June 1. He was 80.
Dye had recently been hospitalized with kidney issues and had tested positive for COVID-19.
A former Auburn player confirmed the news to WBRC FOX6.
Pat Dye won a lot of football games as head coach at Auburn University, however maybe his biggest contribution to the school was as Athletics Director bringing the Iron bowl to the Plains in 1989.
It was a pivotal moment in Auburn football and the culmination of a great run for the Tigers under the leadership of Dye.
In 12 seasons at Auburn Dye won 99 games, including four SEC championships.
He coached such players as Bo Jackson and Tracy Rocker on his way to becoming the third winningest coach in Auburn history.
Dye a former all-American college player at Georgia in the late 1950’s started his coaching career as an assistant at Alabama before earning his first head coaching tenure at East Carolina then onto Wyoming for a season before taking over the helm at Auburn in 1981 until 1992.
To honor Dye Auburn officials later named the playing surface at Jordan-Hare Stadium Pat Dye Field. Dye was also inducted into the college football hall of fame in 2005. Dye remained close to Auburn even in retirement.
Once an Auburn man always an Auburn man.
Pat Dye’s son and the Auburn family responded to his passing Monday:
Pat Dye, Jr:
“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.
Auburn Director of Athletics Allen Greene
“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.”
Gus Malzahn, Auburn Head Football 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.”
David Housel, Auburn Athletic Director/Sports Information Director Emeritus
“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.”
Hal Baird, Auburn Baseball Coach, 1985-2000
“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.”
Alabama head football coach Nick Saban said, "“I’ve known and respected Pat Dye for many years, and he always represented college football with tremendous class and integrity. He was an outstanding teacher and coach who affected our game in many significant ways. We are saddened to hear of his passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, co-workers and all of the players he had such a positive impact on throughout his distinguished career.”
Governor Ivey shared the following statement:
“I am saddened to hear of the passing of Coach Pat Dye -- a great man, coach and member of the Auburn family. Not only was he a phenomenal football coach, but an even better person. For years, I have known Pat personally and have always valued his friendship and colorful commentary. He had great takes on both football and life. Coach Dye truly embodied the Auburn spirit. He will be missed not only by the Auburn family, but the entire state of Alabama. War Eagle, Coach. Your life and legacy lives on.”