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John Carroll Field to be renamed for Pat Sullivan

Birmingham, AL – John Carroll Catholic High School’s football stadium will soon carry the name of one of its most respected alumni, both on and off the gridiron.  The home of the Cavaliers will be renamed Pat Sullivan Field prior to the Cavs’ showdown with the Springville Tigers Friday night.

Sullivan, a 1968 John Carroll graduate, began his athletic career as a three-sport standout for the Cavs before accepting a football scholarship to Auburn University.  As a quarterback at Auburn, Sullivan would break school and national records in route to being named a consensus All-American and bringing home the 1971 Heisman Trophy.  Sullivan became the first Alabamian to win the coveted award.  He finished his playing career at Auburn with 6,284 passing yards and 75 total touchdowns in route to a 26-7 record.

After being named an Academic All-American and graduating with a degree in business administration, Sullivan was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the second round of the 1972 NFL draft.   He played for the Falcons from 1972 to 1976 before being traded to the Washington Redskins for the final two seasons of his professional football career.

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Following his retirement from the NFL, Sullivan spent several years away from football, working in private business and broadcasting before returning to the gridiron.  The next time the Heisman Trophy winner would step on the sidelines, it would be as the quarterbacks coach for the Auburn Tigers.

After six successful seasons on Pat Dye’s staff at Auburn, he was named the head coach at Texas Christian University.  While at TCU, Sullivan lead the Horned Frogs to their first Southwest Conference title since 1959.  Sullivan resigned in 1997 with an overall record of 24-42-1 in Fort Worth.

In 1999, the West End native returned to Birmingham to become Watson Brown’s offensive coordinator at UAB.  During his stint with the Blazers, Sullivan successfully battled throat cancer and was declared cancer free in April of 2004.  Although cancer treatments took a tole on the hall of famer, he missed only one game for the Blazers due to chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Following the 2005 season, Sullivan was named head coach at Samford University.  He lead a turnaround of the Bulldog’s football program that included a 47-43 record and a Southern Conference title in 2013.   During his tenure on Lakeshore Drive, Coach Sullivan was instrumental in Samford’s transition from the Ohio Valley Conference into the prestigious Southern Conference.

Sullivan was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1981 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

Pat Sullivan Quick Facts

Sullivan was a football, baseball & basketball standout during his prep career at John Carroll.

Sullivan played for six seasons in the National Football League.

Sullivan agreed to become the head coach of the LSU Tigers following the 1994 season, however LSU officials failed to negotiate a buyout of Sullivan’s contract at TCU.

Sullivan successfully recruited NFL MVP and five time Pro Bowler LaDainian Tomlinson to play running back at TCU.

Sullivan tutored standout quarterbacks Reggie Slack and Stan White at Auburn and Darrel Hackney at UAB.

Sullivan was a part of two conference transitions as a head coach.  He guided TCU from the Southwest Conference to the Mountain West and Samford from the Ohio Valley to the Southern Conference.

Sullivan’s #7 is one of only three numbers to be retired in Auburn football history (#34 Bo Jackson and #88 Terry Beasley).

In 2012 Auburn University unveiled a statue of Sullivan (including fellow Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson and Cam Newton) on the west side of Jordan-Hare Stadium.