Sullivan steps down as Samford football coach

Birmingham, AL ( - Plagued by physical problems in recent years, Samford football coach Pat Sullivan stepped down from his position and moved into another role within the university Tuesday.

Sullivan, the 1971 Heisman Trophy winner as a quarterback at Auburn, recently completed his eighth season at Samford and went 47-43 as the program's all-time leader in wins. He just led the team to four straight winning seasons for the first time since 1999.

Sullivan had back surgery in 2013 and had some complications afterward, causing him to often coach from the press box. In the 2012 season, he missed time because of pneumonia.

He will begin to serve as Samford president Dr. Andrew Westmoreland's special advisor for campus and community development. That will include working as a Samford ambassador to extend the university's reach in the state of Alabama and beyond.

Among the highlights of Sullivan's tenure, he led the Bulldogs to a share of their first Southern Conference championship since joining the league in 2008. That team also earned the program's first bid to the FCS playoffs since 1992.

Earlier this season, Samford renamed its football field house the Sullivan- Cooney Family Field House to honor Sullivan, his wife Jean and their family.