Montgomery AdvertiserPublished 6:25 PM EDT Jun 1, 2020AUBURN — Pat Dye, the legendary football coach who led Auburn’s football program to great heights during the 1980s, died Monday. He was 80 years old.Dye was hospitalized late last month because of ongoing kidney issues. He tested positive for COVID-19 during his stay, but was asymptomatic according to his son, Pat Dye Jr.The legendary coach led Auburn to a 99-39-4 overall record over 12 seasons from 1981-92, including nine straight with winning records. The team won four SEC championships, and Dye was named SEC Coach of the Year three times.MORE: ‘Auburn will be forever better because of him’: Remembering Pat Dye“On behalf of our family, I want to thank all of the people from around the country who have offered their support and admiration for Dad these past several days,” Dye Jr. said in a statement. “Dad would be honored and humbled to know about this overwhelming outreach. The world has lost a pretty good football coach and a great man. He was beloved, he touched so many lives and he will be missed by many, especially our family.”There wasn’t any morning, or any day that went by, where Dye didn’t think about how blessed he was to be a part of Auburn. The football program, the university and the community.That’s what he told many of his former players at a reunion of his 1989 Tigers team a little more than six months ago, the Friday before the 2019 Iron Bowl. It was the 30-year anniversary of the first Iron Bowl every played at Jordan-Hare Stadium, a game he was such an integral part of making happen.”I didn’t have anything to do with building it or making it like it is,” Dye said. “I just bought into what they already believed.”But Dye did have so much to do with building Auburn into the football program that it is today. He was the first head coach after Doug Barfield, which made him just the second since Ralph “Shug” Jordan’s 25-year run ended in 1975. The Tigers went just 29-25-1 during the five seasons prior to his arrival, not making a bowl game once. Dye built them back into a power.“People will talk about all of the games Coach Dye won, all of those champions and bowl games, but his greatest contribution, his legacy, is the difference he made in the lives of his players and the people who worked for him. I am one of them. He made a difference in my life,” former Auburn athletics director David Housel said. “He came to Auburn at a time when Auburn needed leadership and focus. He provided that leadership and focus and Auburn will be forever better because of him.”Dye is unique because he wasn’t always an Auburn person. He was born Nov. 6, 1939, in Blythe, Georgia. He played college football at the University of Georgia, one of Auburn’s oldest and most hated rivals. His first coaching job was as an assistant in charge of linebackers at Alabama, on Bear Bryant’s staff, where he was from 1965-73. The Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers six times in those nine seasons and won two national championships.Dye left Tuscaloosa to become the head coach at East Carolina, a job he held from 1974-79. He spent the 1980 season as the head coach at Wyoming, which coincided with Barfield’s last season at Auburn. The Tigers went 5-6.During Dye’s introductory press conference, he was asked, “How long will it take you to beat Alabama? His reply, famously, was “60 minutes.” Auburn lost the first Iron Bowl of his tenure, but won six of the next eight. The last of those wins was played at Jordan-Hare Stadium, on Dec. 2, 1989.Up until then, every Iron Bowl has been played in either Birmingham, Montgomery or Tuscaloosa. Mostly the former, at a neutral Legion Field that didn’t feel all that neutral to those wearing orange and blue. Dye spoke to Bryant a few days after being hired, and told him that he planned on getting the Iron Bowl to Auburn. Bryant told him it wouldn’t happen as long as he was in Tuscaloosa. It did six years after his final season.Dye said before that game that it would be “the most emotional day in Auburn history. “He was right,” Housel said. “It was.” The Tigers won, 30-20.That’s just one of the countless memories that will be forever associated with Dye’s 12 seasons as head coach. Bo Jackson came to Auburn one season after Dye did, in 1982. He went over the top against Alabama that season to give the Tigers a 23-22 victory, which snapped a nine-game losing streak in the rivalry game. Jackson won the Heisman Trophy in 1985 and was the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft in 1986.Auburn went 5-6 in Dye’s first season. It won no fewer than eight games in each of the next nine seasons, and won 10 or more games four times. The Tigers won SEC Championships in 1983 and 1987-89. They went 6-2-1 in bowl games. Dye was named SEC Coach of the Year in 1983, 1987 and 1988.He didn’t lead Auburn to a national championship, but he came as close as you can in 1983, when his team bounced back from an early loss to Texas and won 10 consecutive games before ultimately finishing No. 3 in the AP Top 25 Poll. The New York Times ranked the Tigers No. 1.Dye stepped down as head coach following the 1992 season, with a 153-62-5 record as a head coach overall. His .711 winning percentage at Auburn ranks fourth in program history among coaches with a tenure longer than one season, behind only Mike Donahue, Terry Bowden and John Heisman.He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005. That same year, the playing field at Jordan-Hare Stadium was named in his honor. He stayed ever-present in the community long after his coaching, running Crooked Oaks Hunting Preserve and Quail Hollow Gardens Japanese Maple Farm & Nursery in Notasulga and hosting “The Coach Pat Dye Show” on radio stations throughout the state every week.And Dye will still be present, even after his passing Monday — the university approved plans to build statues of him, Jordan and Cliff Hare in February at a to-be-determined location on campus.“Coach Dye was much more than a hall of fame coach and administrator at Auburn. He was an Auburn leader and visionary,” current Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. “He not only returned the football program back to national prominence during his tenure, but was a key figure in bringing the Iron Bowl to Auburn and made an impact on the university and in the community. He embodied what Auburn is about: hard work, toughness and a blue collar mentality.”Coach Dye’s impact on Auburn is endless and will stand the test of time.”Josh Vitale is the Auburn beat writer for the Montgomery Advertiser. You can follow him on Twitter at @JoshVitale. To reach him by email, click here.