Sullivan, the winner of the 1971 Heisman Trophy as a quarterback at Auburn University, is the 35th head football coach in Samford history. He has served on the coaching staff at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) since 1999. While at UAB, Sullivan worked with the team's quarterbacks and was the offensive coordinator from 1999-2005. He served as the assistant head coach and running backs coach in 2006. He recruited and coached Darrell Hackney, the all-time leading passer in UAB history, and the third-leading passer in Conference USA history.
Sullivan also has experience as a head coach at the Division I-A level, as he served as the head coach at TCU from 1992-97. He helped lead the Horned Frogs to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 42 years with records of 7-5 in 1994 and 6-5 in 1995. His 1994 team also earned a berth in the Independence Bowl, the school's first bowl bid in 10 years. Sullivan was named the 1994 Southwest Conference Coach of the Year. He also earned the Top Newcomer Award from American Football Quarterly in 1995 after taking the program from a 2-8-1 record in 1992 to the consecutive winning seasons in 1994 and 1995. His six-year record at TCU was 24-42-1.
Before becoming head coach at TCU, Sullivan spent six seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, Auburn University. Sullivan coached the quarterbacks at Auburn, coaching three of the top passers in the program's history (Jeff Burger, Reggie Slack and Stan White). Sullivan, working under head coach Pat Dye, helped Auburn win three Southeastern Conference championships (1987, '88, '89) and post an overall record of 52-16-3.
Sullivan, a 1972 graduate of Auburn, was a three-year starter at quarterback for the Tigers (1969-71). In addition to winning the Heisman Trophy, he was named an All-American and the SEC Player of the Year in 1970 and 1971. He helped lead Auburn to three post-season bowl appearances, and was named the MVP of the 1970 Gator Bowl and the 1971 Sugar Bowl. Following his senior season, Sullivan was named the MVP of the 1972 Senior Bowl, and he played in the College All-Star Classic, taking on the Super Bowl champion Dallas Cowboys.
Sullivan played professional football for five seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. Sullivan is a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame.
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