Pat Dye, a two-time All-American in his time as a Georgia football player who later went on to become the head coach at Auburn from 1981 through 1992, died at the age of 80 on Monday.
Dye had been hospitalized last month due to complications with his kidneys. He also tested positive for COVID-19.
Dye played for Wally Butts at Georgia from 1957-60, playing both on the offensive line and at linebacker. He earned All-American honors for his play in 1959 and 1960 and was named the Southeastern Conference’s Lineman of the Year in 1960. He was also a co-captain for the Bulldogs during the 1960 season.
Dye was born in Blythe, Ga., and played his high school football for Richmond Academy, in Augusta, Ga.
“I never played with a greater football player than Pat Dye,” former Georgia quarterback Fran Tarkenton said. “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.”
After a three-year stint in the Canadian Football League and a two-year service in the Army, Dye went into coaching. He started working under Alabama’s Bear Bryant, assisting as linebackers coach from 1965 through 1973.
Dye earned his first head coaching job in 1974 when he took over at East Carolina University, where he racked up a 48-18-1 record over six seasons on the job. Then after one season as the head coach at Wyoming, Dye was hired to be Auburn’s head coach before the 1981 season.
Auburn went on to win the SEC four times under Dye. He coached the likes of Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, as well as played a key role in making the Alabama-Auburn rivalry a home-and-home, as opposed to having the game played in Birmingham every year. Dye also served as the school’s athletic director from 1981 to 1991.
“It’s sad to learn of Coach Dye’s passing,” said former UGA head coach and director of athletics Vince Dooley. “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.”
The 1983 team was perhaps Dye’s best team, as Auburn went 11-1 that season and finished ranked No. 3 in the country.
Dye went 153-62-5 in his time as a head coach, with most of the wins coming at Auburn. He went 99-39-4 while in charge of the Tigers, tying him for the second-most wins in program history behind only Ralph “Shug” Jordan.
A number of people in the college football weighed on the passing of the legendary figure.
I once asked HOF quarterback Fran Tarkenton to name his favorite teammate at Georgia. He didn't hesistate.
"Patrick Fain Dye," he said.
Two time All-American in 1959 and 1960. Won an SEC championship in 1959, beating Auburn in Athens.
— Tony Barnhart (@MrCFB) June 1, 2020
Coach Dye. Great Coach, Great man! R. I.P.
— Mark Richt (@MarkRicht) June 1, 2020
RIP Coach Pat Dye. Yes, he won four SEC championships but his greatest accomplishment, IMO, was getting Auburn's home games in the Iron Bowl moved to Jordan-Hare Stadium. That changed the Auburn-Alabama rivalry forever. https://t.co/oE3pndyT4u
— Tony Barnhart (@MrCFB) June 1, 2020
In the 6 years before hiring Pat Dye, Auburn won 5 games per year with an avg SP+ ranking of 66.8.
He improved them to 47th in his first year and 24th in his second, then ripped off 7 years with an avg rank of 7th, 5 AP top-10 finishes, and 10 wins per year. pic.twitter.com/af03tyLyh7
— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) June 1, 2020
We wouldn't be the Auburn we all enjoy and love today without Coach Pat Dye.
His impact on the community, athletics and countless individuals are immeasurable.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Dye family. pic.twitter.com/Fyt6Ts2rVc
— Auburn Football (@AuburnFootball) June 1, 2020
RIP to Pat Dye! Enjoyed every moment he came to practice to spend his time with us man…will always appreciate every time i saw him and every word he spoke
— Kerryon Johnson (@AyeyoKEJO) June 1, 2020
Sending my condolences to Dye family. R.I.P to one of the greatest to ever do it. #CoachDye 🙏🏾
— Takeo Spikes, M.B.A (@TakeoSpikes51) June 1, 2020
as a coach he was basically the founder of the Auburn Ruins Things Club, and that brand carries over to this day
— BUM CHILLUPS, NPR CLASS PUNDIT (@edsbs) June 1, 2020
Dye was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Auburn has also named its field after Dye that year.
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