Head football coach of the Tigers from 1981-1992, Dye returned Auburn to the national scene as a respected football power and in his role as athletic director put in the foundation for making Auburn successful on the national scene in a variety of sports.
"This is truly a humbling experience for me," Dye told Inside the Auburn Tigers. "Something that happens like this is the result of the efforts of a lot people who have helped me throughout the years going all the way back to high school."
Dye, a Georgia native who went on to win All-America status at the University of Georgia, was hired by Auburn in 1981 to rebuild an AU football program that did not win a conference game in 1980. By 1983, his Tigers were SEC champions and he won a total of four league championships at Auburn.
Prior to coaching at Auburn, he built a strong program at East Carolina and then spent one season at the University of Wyoming before taking the Auburn job, where he posted a record of 99-35-5. He is second in AU history in total victories behind the 176 won by Ralph "Shug" Jordan from 1951-75.
Dye is still very popular with a large number of Auburn football fans who credit him with making major improvements and expansions of the program and the entire athletic department. Dye says the feeling is mutual.
"I love Auburn," he says. "I love the Auburn people."
Dye, who is involved in a variety of business ventures including a hunting lodge just west of Auburn in Macon County, says that since he has retired from coaching he has gotten a chance to spend more time with a wide variety of Auburn people through his fund-raising efforts for the university and with his business ventures.
"I know now more than ever how special Auburn people are," he says. "It is just a good feeling to know so many Auburn folks. When you are the head football coach, a lot of people are pulling at you and because of the responsibilities at the job you don't have time to build a lot of close, personal relationships. You have only a few close friends in that situation. With what I am doing now I have more time to build more relationships and that is something I am really enjoying. I am really happy with what I am doing now and I am enjoying life more than I ever have."
Dye left watches an Auburn football practice with current head coach, Tommy Tuberville. Dye coached 71 All-SEC and 21 All-American players at Auburn.
Dye says he is also enjoying the success of the football program he helped build. "I think Tommy (head coach Tommy Tuberville) is doing a great job," he says. "In my opinion, the football program at Auburn has never been in better shape. I think the same thing is true of the entire athletic department. I believe Jay (new athletic director Jay Jacobs) is doing a very good job with the overall program. Almost all of Auburn's team's are competitive on the national level and that is great to see. They may not be winning national championships in every sport, but the teams are at the point where they are close to doing that and it is something we can be proud of."
Dye will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December. He was nominated by the Auburn Chapter of the group.
Trey Johnston, who is chairman of the local chapter, says, "I think we all know what Coach Pat Dye meant to Auburn football when he arrived at Auburn. I don't believe we would be where we are today without his rebuilding of a once-great Auburn program. I think Auburn people will always be indebted to Coach Dye for what he did for Auburn."
The Auburn chapter's other recent nominees who have made the hall of fame include wide receiver Terry Beasley, running back Bo Jackson and defensive lineman Tracy Rocker.
Johnston says he believes Auburn is still under-represented in the College Football Hall of Fame and the chapter is working on nominating other players such as Jackie Burkett, Jimmy "Red" Phillips, Ken Rice, Zeke Smith and Ed Dyas.
Johnston says Auburn fans interesting in joining the chapter can send at check for $40 to the chapter in care of Johnston & Malone, P.O. Box 3190, Auburn, AL 36831 or they can contact him at the J&M bookstore downtown next to Toomer's Corner.
Hall of Famers Jackson and Rocker played for Dye at Auburn, who coached a long list of outstanding college players such as Bob Harris, Lionel James, Dowe Aughtman, David King, Doug Smith, David Jordan, Donnie Humphrey, Greg Carr, Jeff Lott, Gerald Robinson, Ben Thomas, Lewis Colbert, Harold Hallman, Tom Powell, Ben Tamburello, Steve Wallace, Gerald Williams, Aundray Bruce, Kurt Crain, Brent Fullwood, Stacy Searels, Jeff Burger, Win Lyle, Walter Reeves, Kevin Porter, Carlo Cheatom, Stacy Danley, Jeff Burger, Quentin Riggins, Benji Roland, Brian Shulman, Reggie Slack, Ron Stallworth, Jim Thompson, John Hudson, Ed King, David Rocker, Rob Selby, John Wiley, Bob Meeks, James Bostic, Scott Etheridge, James Willis and many others.
Dye is the fourth Auburn coach to be selected for the College Hall of Fame, which is located on the campus of Notre Dame. John W. Heisman, Mike Donahue and Ralph "Shug" Jordan are members along with Jimmy Hitchcock, Walter Gilbert, Pat Sullivan, Tucker Frederickson, Jackson, Beasley and Rocker.
Jackson says, "I credit Coach Dye with all of my on and off the field accolades. He taught me how to be a man."
Dye was a three-time honoree as SEC Coach of the Year and won the 1983 National Coach of the Year title. He is one of just seven coaches to have coached a Heisman Trophy winner (Jackson) and an Outland Trophy winner (Rocker).
Joining Dye for the 2005 class are Coach Don Nehlen of West Virginia and players Cornelius Bennett of Alabama, Tom Curtis of Michigan, Anthony Davis of Southern California, Keith Dorney of Penn State, Jim Houston of Ohio State, John Huarte of Notre Dame, Roosevelt Leaks of Texas, Mark May of Pittsburgh, Joe Washington of Oklahoma, Paul Wiggin of Stanford and David Williams of Illinois.