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Pat Sullivan memorial: Pastor Chris Hodges eulogizes Auburn legend

Updated Dec 06, 2019;Posted Dec 06, 2019

2-3 minutes

Auburn Football


Pat Sullivan, 1950-2019

Heisman Trophy winner Pat Sullivan, a legendary star quarterback at Auburn University from 1969-71, was eulogized Friday in a service at the Church of the Highlands in Irondale where friends remembered him for his off-the-field contributions.

Sullivan died on Dec. 1 after a long battle with cancer. He was 69.

“We’re here to celebrate a life that was lived very, very well,” said Church of the Highlands Senior Pastor Chris Hodges, who said he met Sullivan 15 years ago playing golf at the Birmingham Country Club.

Sullivan asked to pray with him that day to give his life to Jesus, Hodges said.

Sullivan soon joined the Church of the Highlands and attended services there for most of the past 14 years, Hodges said.

“I was with him a few days ago,” Hodges said. “He wanted to talk about God, he wanted to talk about making a difference, and he wanted to pray.”

Samford University President Andrew Westmoreland also spoke, recalling how in 2006 he asked Sullivan to become the football coach at Samford. “'I’m a Samford man now,'” Westmoreland recalled him saying as they shook hands on the agreement.

Sullivan served as football coach at Samford from 2007 to 2014. He had previously been head coach at Texas Christian University from 1992-97 and offensive coordinator at UAB from 1999 to 2006.

Samford University Assistant Coach Ross Newton, who coached under Sullivan, recalled his work on behalf of other cancer patients, dedicating himself to help ease others’ suffering. Before his death, Sullivan helped launch the Pat and Jean Sullivan Comprehensive Head and Neck Cancer Survivor Care Program at UAB’s O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center. “He used a difficult, difficult circumstance to help people,” Newton said.

Sullivan’s son, Patrick, and grandson, Alex Pankey, spoke on behalf of Sullivan’s wife, Jean, his three children, eight grandchildren and other family in attendance.

“We all thought he belonged to all of us,” Westmoreland said. “He lived as a Heisman Trophy winner here at the center of the college football universe, and he did it without pretense and with genuine humility.”

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God Bless you Mr. Pat Sullivan. You lived your life with humility and love for your fellow person. You were an extremely talented athlete who became the first Heisman Trophy winner from your native State of Alabama and your beloved Auburn University. More important than that, you lived a life fitting of what it means to be a Christian. You loved people and put their needs above yours. I did not know you personally but I sure felt like I did. I miss you Sully and it hurts to know you have been taken from us. I know, however, that you are rejoicing with your Savior Jesus Christ and God in Heaven. Sully, I will be there with you some day. Thanks for being my childhood hero, but most of all, thanks for being a wonderful example of how a person should live their life. Thanks for the memories #7!

Edited by Sully to Beasley
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I listened to Chris Hodges this morning. We were members there when we lived in Bham and still watch the services online often. Chris mentioned that golf outing and how he and Pat sat in the car for about 45 minutes with the AC running on a hot summer day while they talked about God. He spoke very highly of Pat and how he lived. He mentioned that Bo and Steve Spurrier were there and I'm sure many others that were not mentioned. He spoke of what kind of legacy will we leave when we die. Certainly will make you think about how you go about your everyday life. 

Edited by gr82be
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