Obviously, the legacy of Pat Dye goes well beyond his all-SEC and all-america honors as a Georgia player. On Monday, the former Bulldog standout and Auburn head coach passed away.
If you came of age as a Georgia fan in the 1980s and into the 1990s, Pat Dye typified Auburn football as did Vince Dooley roaming the sidelines in Athens. The fact that both were head coaches at opposing schools helped make the Deep South’s Oldest Football Rivalry as close to friendly as it has been over the years.
The fact that both Dye and Dooley had similar success and stature at both schools but Dye had the field named after him at Auburn well before Dooley is a black mark that should rightfully be one of many things tainting Michael Adams’ legacy as University of Georgia President.
But if you’re going to talk about Pat Dye impacting Georgia football in the modern era, it does not get much bigger than when Dye challenged Georgia’s manhood.
“Alabama is gonna line up and run the football and they’re gonna play defense and I don’t believe Georgia is man enough to beat that,” Dye said.
In case you forgot...Georgia was indeed “man enough” that day, getting a win to help vault Georgia toward the first SEC title in 20 years.
It does not get more of a combo of an Auburn and Georgia than what Pat Dye did that week - more or less helping motivate the opponent of Auburn’s biggest rival.
With the win that day, it showed how special this Georgia team could be. Being in Athens then, there was a sense of the season possibly being something exciting...and getting a big road win a few weeks after a sloppy offensive showing against South Carolina kicked the chase for the SEC East into high gear, leaving the Dawgs as the SEC’s only unbeaten.
And for that, Georgia partially has Pat Dye to thank.