Former UGA football player and Auburn head coach Pat Dye passed away Monday, June 1. Dye was an All-American at Georgia and led Auburn to four SEC Championships.
Pat Dye, one of the greatest individuals on SEC football history passed away in Auburn, Alab. on June 1. Dye was 80 years old.
Dye first rose to stardom in SEC country as an All-American offensive lineman and linebacker for UGA football. Dye earned All-America honors in 1959 and 1960 and played a huge role in Georgia’s 1959 SEC Championship season. In 1960, he earned SEC Lineman of the Year from the coaches and the SEC’s Most Valuable Lineman award from the Atlanta Touchdown Club.
Dye never played in the NFL, but he did spend three seasons in the Canadian Football League before spending two years in the United States Army. After service, Dye began his long and storied coaching career as an assistant at Alabama under head coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. Dye spent nine seasons (1965-73) with the Crimson Tide, helping the Crimson Tide to an 80-20-3 record with national titles bookending his tenure.
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The last 19 years of his football career were spent as a head coach. Dye’s first job was at East Carolina where he compiled a 48-18-1 record through six seasons. In 1976, Dye led the Pirates to their last Southern Conference Championship, the school left the conference after the season. He spent one year at Wyoming (1980) before returning to the SEC.
After the 1980 season, Auburn hired Dye to beat Alabama and bring Auburn back to the pinnacle of the SEC. By his third year at Auburn, Dye achieved both feats. Dye led Auburn to a 23-22 win in the 1982 Iron Bowl to snap a nine-game losing streak to Alabama. In 1983, Dye won his first of four SEC Championships at Auburn and beat Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.
For reasons that are still a mystery, the major polls chose the 11-1 Miami as the national champions of 1983 over the 11-1. That was the closest Auburn would get to a national title with Dye.
Auburn toiled in the middle of the SEC for the next three seasons despite having legendary running back Bo Jackson on the roster. after Jackson left, the Tigers actually became a more complete team. This led to three-straight SEC Championships from 1987-to-1989. Auburn’s record during those three years was 29-5-2.
Dye retired after the 1992 season with an overall record of 153-39-4 and a 99-39-4 record at Auburn. His four conference titles cemented his place in the upper-echelon of SEC coaches.
However, his impact on the Iron Bowl made him a beloved figure throughout the entire Auburn fanbase. In 1989, Auburn hosted Alabama for the first time after 41-straight games played in Birmingham’s Legion Field. Auburn has hosted Alabama every-other-year ever since. Under Dye, Auburn went 7-5 against Alabama, including four-straight wins from 1986-to-1989.
Auburn had success against all of its rivals under Dye. The Tigers had a 7-5 record against Georgia, 5-4-2 record against Tennessee, and a 5-6 record against Florida.
Auburn football: Hall of Fame coach Pat Dye dies [Ty Butler – Southbound and Down]
Dye remained a vocal figure of SEC football for the next few decades. He famously said the Georgia Bulldogs weren’t “man enough” to beat Alabama before their meeting in 2002. The quote drew heat from Georgia fans who already felt betrayed by Dye coaching at Auburn, but after Georgia defeated Alabama 27-25, some fans began to believe Dye wanted to motivate his alma mater.
Recently, Dye tested positive for COVID-19, though the didn’t show symptoms and spent time in a hospital for kidney issues. He listened to phone calls from friends, family members and former players Monday morning before his passing.