Pat Dye

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Pat Dye

Patrick Fain Dye (born November 6, 1939 in Blythe, Georgia; died June 1, 2020 in Auburn) was a college football coach most notable for his tenure as the head coach at Auburn University from 1981 until 1992. With a career record of 153-62-5 over nineteen seasons as a head coach, Dye was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Dye grew up in Blythe, a small town outside Augusta. He attended the University of Georgia where he earned letters (1958, 1959, 1960) and All-American honors playing for the Bulldogs under head coach Wally Butts. His two brothers, Wayne and Nat, preceded him on the squad.

Dye's first coaching job came as an assistant at the University of Alabama in 1965 under head coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. After nine years as an assistant at Alabama, Dye moved into his first head coaching job at East Carolina University in 1974. Over six seasons, he achieved a record of 48-18. As of 2006, his winning percentage is still the highest of any coach in East Carolina University history. He guided the Pirates to the Southern Conference championship in 1976 and posted at least seven wins in all six seasons in Greenville. In 2006, Dye was inducted into the East Carolina Athletics Hall of Fame.

After East Carolina, Dye coached one season (1980) at the University of Wyoming before taking the reigns for the struggling program at Auburn in 1981. At Auburn, Dye achieved a record of 99-39-4 over twelve seasons. While under the leadership of Dye, Auburn won four Southeastern Conference Championships and Dye became only the fourth coach in SEC history to win three straight (1987-1989). He received SEC Coach of the Year honors in 1983, 1987, and 1988.

Dye was also the athletic director from 1981 to 1992, but he was replaced as AD in 1992 by Mike Lude before Dye ultimately resigned as head football coach. Dye's resignation came in the wake of consecutive disappointing seasons in 1991 and 1992 and under the taint of allegations brought about after former Auburn defensive back Eric Ramsey revealed tape recorded conversations of an assistant coach discussing illicit payments to players.

On November 19, 2005, the playing field at Jordan-Hare Stadium at Auburn was named for Dye. The dedication ceremony was held immediately before the 2005 Iron Bowl. This was especially appropriate since Dye led the Tigers to a 30-20 victory over the Tide on December 2, 1989 in the first installment of the Iron Bowl to be played at Auburn after 41 consecutive meetings at Legion Field in Birmingham.

In addition to the first meeting at Auburn, Dye was the opposing coach in 1981 when Bryant, his mentor, won his 315th career game to break the all-time victory record (as it stood at the time) held by Amos Alonzo Stagg. The next season, led by freshman running back Bo Jackson, Auburn rallied for a 23-22 victory, the Tigers' first over the Tide since the famous "Punt Bama Punt" game of 1972. It also turned out to be Bryant's final regular season game, as he announced his retirement three weeks later.

In May 2020 Dye was hospitalized with symptoms of renal failure. During his stay he was diagnosed with COVID-19, but did not suffer other symptoms of that disease. He was moved into hospice care in Auburn, and died on June 1. He was survived by his partner Nancy McDonald, and by four children and 9 grandchildren.

Dye's hunting lodge near Notasulga, Crooked Oaks, hosts hunting parties as well as meetings and events.

Preceded by:
Doug Barfield
Auburn Tigers head football coach
19811992
Succeeded by:
Terry Bowden
Preceded by:
Lee Hayley
Auburn Tigers athletic director
19811991
Succeeded by:
Mike Lude

References