Coronavirus: Legendary Auburn football coach Pat Dye dead at 80

AUBURN, Ala. — Pat Dye, who led Auburn’s football team to four Southeastern Conference championships during his 12-year coaching career at the university, died Monday. He was 80.

Dye had tested positive for the coronavirus while he was hospitalized in Atlanta with kidney issues, his son told ESPN last month. Dye's death was first reported by 247Sports.

Dye led the Tigers to a 99-39-4 record from 1981 to 1992, winning at least a share of SEC championships in 1983, 1987, 1988 and 1989. His Auburn teams won at least 10 games in a season four times and won six bowl games.

Dye was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005. He also was the university’s athletic director from 1981 to 1991.

Former Auburn Athletic Director David Housel said in a statement that Auburn “will be forever better because of (Dye).”

“People will talk about all the games he won, the championships and bowl games, but his greatest contribution, his legacy, is the difference he made in the lives of the people who played for him and worked with him,” Housel said in a statement. "I am one of them. He made a difference in my life.

“He came to Auburn at a time when Auburn needed leadership and focus. He provided that leadership and focus.”

Dye's first SEC title was won with the help of running back Bo Jackson and was the program's first football conference title in 26 years, the Opelika-Auburn News reported. In 1982, Jackson's goal-line leap allowed Auburn to defeat Alabama and snap a nine-game losing streak to the Tigers' in-state rivals.

Dye was instrumental in moving the Iron Bowl from Legion Field to Jordan-Hare Stadium in 1989 after the game had been played annually in Birmingham since 1948, AL.com reported.

"When I saw Coach (Bear) Bryant when I first got to Auburn, the first thing he said to me, very first thing, he said, 'Well, I guess you're going to want to take that game to Auburn,'" Dye told AL.com in 2019. "I said, 'We're going to take it to Auburn.'

“He said, ‘Well, we’ve got a contract through (19)88. … I said, ‘Well, we’ll play ’89 in Auburn.’”

Dye was a three-time SEC coach of the year and 1983 national coach of the year.

Dye was an All-American high school football player at Richmond Academy in Augusta, Georgia, and led his team to the Class 3A state championship in 1956, WRBL reported.

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