Pat Dye: Auburn’s savior or tarnished tiger?

By Shane from Center Point

Bob Carlton, the entertainment writer for Alabama’s largest newspaper, The Birmingham News, recently began a tournament type contest pitting sixty-four of the State’s greatest sports legends (in who’s mind?) against each other so the public could vote and pick the “best of the best”. Much to the chagrin of popular sports talk radio host, Paul Finebaum, former Auburn head football coach Pat Dye, wasn’t among those chosen by Carlton to be included in the original field of contestants.

While discussing the issue on his show the day of the initial release, Finebaum ranted and raved about how it was a travesty that coach Dye was being excluded from consideration, sounding noticeably annoyed with Bob and the News’ selection committee. Paul pounded out point after point on the merits of Pat, going as far as to say he deserved to be in the contest, if for nothing else other than the fact that coach Dye had the Iron Bowl moved away from Legion Field.

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Finebaum mentioned a page on his website where Dye was listed with Gene Stallings and several other “best of the rest”. Coach Dye and each of the others listed had a short biography following their name. In the short bio on Dye there were approximately 80 words dedicated to the topic of coach Pat Dye’s dealings with the NCAA and the punishments brought on the institution while under his leadership.

Needless to say, after reading that somewhat negative biography, I had a difficult time understanding how Finebaum, or anyone else, could consider Dye to be a deserving candidate for the greatest legends list.

As a result of that short reading encounter, I decided to take a more in-depth look at the entire episode surrounding Dye’s involvement with infractions during his reign in Tiger land. Naturally, I went to the “horses mouth” for the skinny on the story – the NCAA’s Public Infractions Report.

The report states, “ The violations of NCAA rules that were committed at Auburn University are indicative of what can occur when, in the minds of members of a universities athletic department staff and representatives of its athletics interest, the athletics program becomes more important than the university of which it is a part.” “Auburn University has become one of only three universities that have been placed on probation more than six times by the NCAA.”

That said, Pat Dye, both head football coach and the director of athletics was in charge of every facet of the program. The thing that left the strongest impression on my mind was the disregard for rules and regulations that existed under his guidance. I got the impression after reading the full report that Pat was running a renegade program and the NCAA apparently was convinced it was true.

Yes, coach Dye brought four SEC championships to the Plains. Yes, he was the SEC Coach of the year 1983, 1987 and 1988. He won 99 games in twelve years at Auburn and had a 71% winning average.

I agree with Finebaum that Pat changed the face of the Auburn football program and brought a winning tradition that exists until this very day. I can see why Dye’s impact on the SEC scene probably fascinated and captivated a young reporter like Paul. Coach Dye dominated during the 1980’s – Finebaum’s first decade covering SEC football.

However, I believe that Paul’s longtime friendship with Pat has clouded his objectivity in terms of Dye’s worthiness to be the top sports legend in the State. I agree with Birmingham News that the former Auburn head coach doesn’t deserve to be included in the field of sixty-four.

In my opinion, Patrick Fain Dye was the second best on-the-field coach to ever grace the gridiron in this State. Only his mentor, Bear Bryant, was better at motivating players and getting the most out of his team. Nevertheless, for several reasons Dye’s last two seasons at Auburn were lousy (10-11-1). Next came the national embarrassment that occurs when the dark NCAA cloud descends upon a football program. Pat Dye was totally responsible for everything that happened under his watch, just like all coaches should be. When combined, those are fairly valid reasons to exclude the coach from the upper echelon of the greatest sports legends in Alabama’s storied history.

Apparently, Bob Carlton and his buddies at the Birmingham News don’t think Pat Dye is worthy. Maybe they were trying to confirm for Auburn fans that long-standing, well-known fear the Auburn Family suffers from – that the News is Pro-Crimson Tide.

You can reach Shane via email at

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  1. 2

    Shane Korn’s tiny little life is dedicated to making himself and anyone who will listen believe AU=bad UA=god.
    How pitiful he couldn’t keep his nose firmly entrenched in slime bum’s arse and use the Crimson Agenda Network to further his cause. He will now attack the very heart of the bammer propaganda network since they booted him.

  2. 3

    Kev, Auburn still has the lead in NCAA probations, so to borrow a phrase from my kids, when it comes to cheaters, it takes one to know one. Only Arizona State has more probations than A-Barn. But, like your disturbing belief that you’ve actually accomplished something by beating a hapless, probation (and the effects thereof) crippled rival six years running, you, like all the other Barners live in a delusional orange and blue world. Drink the Kool-Aid, my friend. Drink it up!

  3. 5

    Shane is this your new home after being kicked off the Finebaum website? No one seems to be complaining that you were fired other than the people that reveled in the comic relief that your articles provided. Keep up the good work at the Western Hoe.

  4. 6
    Robert Kelley

    Shane, I know that if someone sneaks up on you and says “6”, you duck and cry a little, but is it true that when anyone says “7”, you pee your pants just a little bit?

  5. 7

    If “cheating” were the only reason Pat Dye was left off the list….then shouldn’t Dye’s mentor be left off the list too???

  6. 8

    In the know, and that coveted 9 year stretch your fanbase crows about was when AUBURN was at full strentgh? Or when AUBURN had a competent coach? Didn’t think so. We were crippled by Barfield, and Dye turned that around. How many times has bama been on probation since AU’s last run in? Your time is comong again with Napoleon at the helm.

  7. 10

    I just wish all you bammers would make up your mind whether your team is good, bad, decimated, fully stocked, criminally insane or what. One time I hear that we’ve won 6 in a row because of probation. I had bammers tell me that since $aban was hired, our run was over. Then we hear again about being decimated because of little mikey’s recruits. Then all of you idiots are saying another NC is just around the corner.

    Just one time I’d like to hear you actually speak the truth and admit to the fact that we have a better program than you at present. We have had for some years now and will continue to. Crow all you want about that recruiting class, but until you actually beat us on the field, don’t have to kick an on-side kick to make the score ‘look’ respectable, and quit making excuses as to why you can’t come close to a winning season, I’d just as soon you just shut the he!! up.

  8. 11

    well, lets see. if pat dye cheated then bear surely cheated because thats the only way bama could beat auburn nine straight. well, using that logic then auburn is surely cheating now because thats the ONLY wat you can beat bama six straight. if a tree falls in the forrest does it make a sound? the same applies to college football. pat dye said it best,’ it’s not cheatin’ if you don’t git cauught. rtr

  9. 12

    Coach Bryant had tremendous success, that is not in question.

    What is in question is the fact not many, indeed if any, Alabama fans acknowledge the number of Bryant assistants who cut their coaching teeth under Bryant’s tutelage and would later became head coaches at programs who found their selves under NCAA scrutiny and sanctions.

    Dye, Ford, Schellenberger, Stallings, Pell, Sherrill, and a number of others. The only former Bryant assistant coach (at the time only a G.A.) who has not landed their school’s program on probation is Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State.

    One apple may indeed fall far from the tree, but the majority fall directly underneath.

  10. 13


    If Auburn is cheating then I am sure that Shane Cornhole will catch them!!! Lord knows he has dedicated the last few years of his life trying to prove it.

    I’m out….ashamed of myself for even posting on here and contributing to such a loser (Shane).

    Rammer Jammer!!!

  11. 15

    This is all worthless chatter.The only thing that matters are results.AU has the results right now.I hope we will soon be there again.ROLL TIDE

  12. 16

    Pardon the interruption, Mike, but I’m curious to know how many times “Bear” was caught cheating or even put under the cheating impression compared to Shug Jordan and Pat Dye????

    Fact of the matter is, you can rant all you want, but Bear never had to cheat to bring himself down to Alabama Polytechnic Institute’s level, so that officially clears that.

    AUtards are once again jealous because their mentor, UA, has shown them up ONCE AGAIN!

    Go ahead, throw in “6” but don’t throw in what it took for you to achieve that rarely magical number. Your fun in the sun is nearly over so enjoy it while you can because it’ll be another 20-30 years before you taste success like this again (see losing 9 in a row after your 5 in the 1950s, and losing 8 out of 12 after winning 4 in the 1980s).

    Pat Dye NEVER won an AP/UPI title. Pat Dye finished his career with a lousy 6-6 record against his cross-state nemesis. Pat Dye only won TWO legitimate SEC titles (the other two being shared with opponents who had MORE SEC WINS THAN API). So saying Pat Dye is the second best thing to come out of this state is almost similar to saying George Bush is the greatest president to ever grace America’s presence. In that case, Gene Stallings could easily could surpass Dye on that list. After all, he NEVER lost to Dye head-to-head on the field.

  13. 17

    Bear is not a cheat? No, that wasn’t him that had money delivered in a bale of hay. If there was ‘ship restrictions back in his day, he wouldn’t have won nearly as much. Yes, the BEAR cheated, they didn’t start cracking down till the 80’s. (see smu)

  14. 18

    Is that so? Well, why is it this “theory” surfaced from only enviously inferior Alabama Polytechnic Institute fans? MY GOD! BECAUSE JEALOUSY OVERSHADOWS THE TRUTH!!! You guys will literally sacrifice your life just to bring A-L-A-B-A-M-A down to your level. It must absolutely suck to be an AUtard Barnie.
    Going about by your ingenious logic, I take it that’s why Shug Jordan was penalized each and every time he turned around, simply because those rules didn’t go into effect until the 1980s. Obviously while Bear was winning, Shug Jordan was doing all he could to win — even if it meant he had to break the rules. Same goes with Pat Dye, even though he WAS the better coach in the mid to late 1980s, though we obviously wasn’t shocked when we found out why.

    Fact of the matter is, Bear wasn’t your coach and it just eats you alive. You’ll do anything and everything necessary in your hopeless power to point out the fictional flaws of someone else, just to make yourself look better.

    You’re Alabama Polytechnic Institute for crying out loud. Then again, Georgia Tech fans have a really hard time coping with the fact they will forever live in the shadow of UGA. Same goes with Vanderbilt and Tennessee. And so on and so forth.

    Typical nonsense like this is expected from the ugly little redheaded stepchild who will forever suffer from little man’s syndrome. But I guess it’s what makes the rivalry fun.

  15. 19

    After reading the Bammer posts above it really does my heart good to say, “It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger!!!”

    Stay classy Bammers-

  16. 20

    We mustn’t pay the little step brothers any mind whatsoever. They’ve officially been our proverbial gnat in the @$$ for quite some time. During the Thomas era; during the Wade era; during the Bryant era; and during the Stallings era; even in the lowest of our lows, they’re still doing what they do best: constantly aiming to be us.

    For as long as there is any type of legacy going for someone, there will always be another left out hanging in the cold who refuses to accept it.

    Barnies, eat our shit and DIE!

  17. 21

    This is for Mike and all the other idiots posting here. So we have 6 in a row over the Tide. You guys act like thats all Auburn has done. Lets go back to 1981..what is the record since that time?? That’s right genius, we’re still kicking your @ss. So it isn’t like this started because of probation.

  18. 22
    jerryl hyche

    UAT’s run at NC’s are at an end due to NCAA parity ( Louisiana Monroe) and the expansion of the SEC. Alabama now finally has to take on Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, LSU, Auburn; albeit not the same year, however. The luxury of scheduling weak SEC opponents and out of conference opponents has them on the same level as Georgia, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Auburn, and MSU (don’t forget them)Let’s all wait and see if they can run the table like the are expecting, bragging, and beating their chests over. No more unlimited scholarships. The weak schedules they played during the 60’s and 70’s are gone due to the SEC expansion.

  19. 23
    Sad State of Affairs

    I love how people claim that Bear’s success was due to cheating and no scholarship limitations, and that Bama will never be good again.

    Let’s address these things.

    1 – Find proof where Bear cheated. You can’t, but you can see Auburn getting caught plenty during the same time. Sometimes people say that Bear turned Auburn in. Bullshit. I don’t think he could give a rats ass what they were doing on the other side of the state.
    Let’s look at this logically – if you are of the 2 premier programs in the nation, you’re going to attract talent without having to cheat, especially with the right coach. If you’re having to play catch up b/c you’re under an enormous shadow, you’re more likely to cheat to be competitive. So, by logically thinking this through, it makes sense why Aubren was caught so many times while Alabama had no infractions during the same period. Note that when Bama did not have the right coach (actually, an idiot with a headset) we did cheat and were caught, being put on a severe probation that affects us even today. This lesson continues now with the latest recruiting class – Right Coach + Top 2 Program = # 1 recruiting class.

    2 – No scholarship limitations. Please. Aubs spout this off like only Alabama had scholarship players and everyone else was having to use walk ons to field a team. News flash – EVERYONE could sign as many as they wanted to, not just Bama. This is such a flimsy and sad way to not give credit where credit is due and it is a lame attempt at covering up the truth – that the best players at the time simply were not interest in playing at Aubren over Alabama.
    Players went to Alabama knowing they would probably sit the bench until their Junior or Senior years and still chose that over going to Aubren b/c they wanted to play for a winning program and a legendary coach. Since there were no scholarship limitations, of course Bryant signed all of them. Aubren would have done the same had they been in the same situation.
    If anything, this backs up point # 1. If a program has plenty of top talent falling over itself to come and play for the program, what need is there to cheat? Again, it would seem that the program that couldn’t naturally attract this talent would have more incentive and motivation to cheat in order to keep up with the other program.

    3 – That Bama/Saban will fail. If there is one thing that we’ve learned, it’s that history does repeat itself. Bama had a terrible stretch in the 50’s, losing 5 in a row to an Aubren team at its peak. However, the right coach comes along and the rest is history.
    Fast forward to today – Bama has gone through the worst decade since the 50’s, losing 6 in a row to an Aubren team at its peak. However, it appears that the right coach is again in place and Bama looks poised to take the SEC in a few years again. Remember, Bryant went 5-4-1 and lost to Aubren in his 1st year as well, but he went out and recruited his ass off and 3 years later had a championship. While we don’t know that this will happen for certain, there certainly are encouraging signs that point to a Bama resurgence. Obviously, the # 1 recruiting class was great, as is the future outlook for recruiting in the future. Saban is the man when it comes to recruiting, plain and simple, and he will bring in top 5-8 classes every year. We have been competitive in our games last year, losing by no more than 7 points in our losses, with easily the worst team we will field until Saban retires. Just think what will happen when true top talent and depth come in to play. Our fans are united under Saban and can’t wait to see what the next few years bring.

  20. 24

    That was a splendid and enjoyable read, Sad State of Affairs.

    Each and every individual of the AUtard, Alabama Tech incest family righteously proclaims themselves as modern day Nostradamus’. But it’s somewhat hereditary seeing how their ancestors suffered from the same delusions. Naturally, after the 50s they were WRONG, and same goes for the streak in the late 80s. Here we are again; back to square one, and the AUtards straying away from reality once again. They’ll NEVER learn. I guess it’s safe to say idiocy is passed down from generation to generation in an API fan’s case.

    Soon, we’ll see just how “right” the Wire Road morons really are. And basing my future judgment on their past predictions, I’d say their chances of being correct is akin to their chances of ever winning a whole national championship, or actually finding out what true fun is all about, other than Trotline concerts, mud riding, hunting, fishing, and rodeos.

  21. 27

    All of this talk is really pointless. I dont see why AU fans cant just suck it up and realize that when people across the country think of college football they think of the university of alabama along with notre dame and southern cal. Thats just a fact. Nobody thinks or care about AU. And all this talk about we cheat and the bear cheated is a bunch of bull! The bear was never penalized for cheating? Also im tired of hearing we live in the past!! If auburn even had half of our tradition and acomplishments their heads would be so big they couldnt walk. So with that said i want to leave it at this Auburn you are going to be in for a rude awakining pretty soon so enjoy your time in the sun because the tide is on its way!!

  22. 28


    How old are you??? The only reason I ask is because I am 30 and my generation does NOT think of Bammer when we think about college football.

    As for the rude awakening….how many times are we going to hear that same old lame story??? Wait ’til next year!!! Bammer is Back!!! Kinda like when Brody ” I never beat Auburn” Croyle signed with the Mighty Tide and he was going to win multiple Heisman’s while leading Bammer to NC’s #42 and #43.

    You are right about one thing though…the TIADDDDE is on it’s way…. to Shreveport again!!!

  23. 29
    Cyndi from Helena

    Dear Sad State of Affairs,

    Let’s debate.
    Argument number 1: Just because the Bear was never “caught” does not mean it did not happen. If you actually believe that kids came to Alabama to ride the bench for two years because they want to play for a winning program you are fooling yourself, kids want to play period. Alabama then is the USC today, the media favorite and can do no wrong. We all know USC paid Reggie Bush and if this was an SEC team NCAA would be all over it. Sell that “Bear didn’t cheat” garbage some where else. Does that mean he wasn’t a good coach no, just means he was a man, not Jesus.

    2)The reason why scholarship limitations were put into place was to keep richer schools from taking all the talent. Yes, every school could offer as many as they liked but only the schools with the pocket linig boosters were able to afford to give out so many. So NCAA puts limits on it and it levels the playing field a little. Which in turn put the bigger schools in more of a need to do the cheating and actually start paying players to come because players had more options.

    3.) Yes History repeats itsself. Since Bear passed away, every coach that has graced the field at Alabama is the “Next Bear”. Every year I hear Bama is back, only to fall flat again. History will repeat and it will either that Saban will not meet the ridiculous expectations and will be run out of town and once again Bama will be on the search for a coach OR Saban will leave just like he has at every other school he has coached at OR Saban will actually bring Bama the success they long for, which I think he can do if Bama will be patient and give him time. What I wish is for Bama fans to WAIT UNTIL IT HAPPENS THEN BRAG ABOUT IT.

    Thanks and War Eagle

  24. 31
    arbrun hater

    auburn people need to spit pat dyes dick out of thier mouths and accept the fact that bama eats first then poly tech gets leftovers yall get what bama lets you have arbrun will always be the red headed stepchild in this state and play second fiddle to bama even if you win the iron bowl 20 times in a row it must really suck knowing theres nothing you can do to change that fact but i guess you cow fuckers are used to sucking atleast no.1 in the knowledge of cow shit maybe that will comfort yall inbred fudgepackers

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