Georgia Letterman Turned Auburn Legend, Pat Dye Passes at age of 80
Patrick Fain "Pat" Dye passed away today in Auburn, Alabama at the age of 80, the family confirmed. The Southeastern Conference has lost an iconic figure in the former player and coach.
Dye tested positive for COVID-19 in May. The official cause of death is kidney failure, as per the Auburn Plainsman. Pat Dye Jr. told ESPN on May 21 that his father was “asymptomatic” but had been hospitalized after experiencing “kidney-related issues.”
The former two-time All-American offensive lineman/occasional linebacker played his college ball under Wally Butts in Athens before becoming a long-tenured head coach and athletic director himself at rival Auburn University.
Following his collegiate playing career at Georgia, Dye played three seasons at linebacker for the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos.
From there, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and played several positions for Fort Benning's intramural football team, the Doughboys. He was named the team's Most Valuable Player in 1964 before embarking on a coaching career.
The late Dye began his career coaching linebackers at the University of Alabama, where he worked under Paul "Bear" Bryant from 1965 to 1973. He was appointed as head coach of East Carolina University in 1974, where he coached until 1979.
In his time leading the Pirates, he accumulated a .724 winning percentage, still second best in program history behind John Christenbury, who coached just 15 games in the early 1940's.
Dye was offered a raise to coach the Wyoming Cowboys in 1980, where he remained for one year before earning his dual head coach-athletic director role at Auburn in 1981.
In twelve years coaching the Tigers, Dye led the team to a 99-39-4 overall record. Along the way, he won four SEC championships was named SEC Coach of the Year thrice.
He oversaw the meteoric rises of Bo Jackson and Tracy Rocker, the latter of whom went on to coach at Georgia.
He was ousted as AD in 1991 following NCAA rules investigations but remained head football coach for an additional season. In 2005, Dye was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame and, prior to the annual Iron Bowl contest between Auburn and former employer Alabama, Auburn University officially named the playing surface Pat Dye Field at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
While the college football community mourns the loss of a familiar face, we send our condolences to the Dye family as they mourn the loss of a husband, a father, and a grandfather.