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Pat Dye Through His Daughter’s Eyes

I love Pat Dye. Like really love him. When I think of Auburn I think of Pat Dye. He is everything that represents Auburn the university, the football program, and the family. He is hard-nosed, likes to work hard, likes to get dirty, and he loves Auburn. He also gave the best locker room speeches known to man.

I probably won’t ever get to really sit and down talk with him. There was that time I bumped into him at the 2002 Georgia game after Tiger Walk, and just looked at him and said “Pat Dye,” but that’s probably the closest I’ll ever get. But when I noticed that someone named Missy Dye McDonald tweeted me the other day, and I realized it was his daughter, I figured I could get some really good insight on the man behind the man. I figured correctly.

Missy was more than gracious (a natural Auburn trait) to answer some questions about her dad, what he was like after games, and how Auburn has affected their lives. There are some really good stories and generally unknown facts in her responses. You should definitely have a read.

1. Where were you born? Where was your dad working at the time?

Ft. Benning, GA when dad played for the World Champion DoughBoys in the Army. Mom was rushed from his home football game to the military hospital in the military police car, close call…her friend brought her clothes back to the game to let him know what happened…guess you could call me his “football baby.”

2. How old were you when Coach Dye took the job at Auburn?

Moved from Laramie, Wyoming (U of Wyoming) middle of my high school senior year. I’m a graduate of Auburn High School ’81.

3. What was Coach Dye like after a long day on the practice field?

Spent. He gave it his all everyday. He still made time for us, in his garden, cooking, yardwork, fishing, hunting, watching tv, going to the movies with all of us…tired or not. We often entertained folks at the house….coaches, donors, family and friends.

4. What was he like after a win/loss?

Not a man of many words. He was quiet either way. After games he would watch football games or entertain donors at the house. After a loss, he was hurting because he hates to lose, but was onto the next game prep whether a win or loss.

5. What was he like after a win/loss against Alabama?

Having coached at Alabama under Coach Bryant for nine years, dad felt the weight of the Auburn/Alabama game and understood the consequences of a win or loss. He was thrilled to win and HATES to lose.

6. Based on his actions, what do you think was the biggest win of his career?

Tough one, certainly being the last coach/team to defeat Coach Bryant in his 2nd year but “First Time Ever” possibly was the pinnacle win. Beating Michigan for the National Championship could’ve been the pinnacle win he was denied…

7. What was the family’s mood after Coach Dye left the program?

My siblings and I cried pretty hard upon announcing his retirement, especially my older brother Pat Jr. and I, who were with Dad every year he coached. Dad told me he was only gonna coach one more year (1993) anyway, but wanted to do what was best for Auburn University, so he retired 1992.

With his health issues at the time we all were in agreement, but we all grieved in our own way and time. I still miss seeing him on the sidelines but Auburn has been so good to him.

Assistant to the President is his official title now. He promotes Auburn University, fundraises for various schools on campus among other responsibilities.

8. How vested is Coach Dye with the current program? How does he handle watching road games on tv?

Whenever coaches call him for consultation, he’s answers their questions. He doesnt micro-manage like some would expect, and only answers when called.

Road games, he watches on tv and doesnt really care for a lot of people being around and talking during games. He turns on “film watching” mode, still the coach in him I suppose.

9. What did it mean to Coach Dye and your family to have the field at Jordan-Hare named after him?

Ever since I can remember, Dad had me out in the garden he kept wherever we lived to help him work it. He has his Japanese Maple garden now he’s cultivating. Dad grew up on a farm growing cotton, fruit, vegetables. Simply put, he loves diggin in the dirt. When he arrived at Auburn, one of his desires was to enhance the field at Jordan-Hare with landscaping, etc.

When approached, Auburn gave him a choice to have the field named after him or the football complex. Naturally he chose the field rather than concrete. Dad is deeply honored. Of course our family is proud for him and grateful to Auburn University for honoring him.

10. As a whole, what does Auburn mean to your family?

On Christmas Day 1980, dad called a family meeting which included everyone but Pat Jr. (at UGA on golf scholarship). He told us that the U. of Wyoming gave him a choice to sign an extended contract or resign because his name came up for the UGA job first, then the Auburn job once Coach Dooley decided to stay at UGA. Dad said he resigned because he knew he was gonna coach somewhere, just didnt know where at the time. (Coach Bryant was asking him not to go to Auburn but to come to U of ALa since he was planning to retire).

The next thing we knew, he and Mom flew to Auburn for the infamous interview. Bearing in mind that Dad was not even the top name on the list, but as fate would have it he won their hearts in the job interview. Auburn didnt have to hire him. He was up against the likes of legendary coaches Dan Reeves, Jackie Sherill, and several more who had proven records.

The opportunity Auburn gave dad was what he had worked for all of his life; not because of money (he didn’t even ask about money), but because he knew he could give the Auburn family, in his words, hope, and build up not only the football program but Auburn University.

I think we can honestly say he accomplished his goals. All of my siblings and myself are Auburn graduates. There is no place like it on earth. My youngest daughter, Manie watched videos of Auburn games from the time she could walk. Her term of endearment for my Dad is “Daddy Auburn.” My brother, Pat Jr. gave seed money to start a scholarship in 2005 called “Pat Dye for Excellence Scholarship” for student athletes. We are a part of the Auburn family and always will be…War Eagle!!

Missy has agreed to answer more questions, so if you have any for her, post them in the comments and I’ll get then over to her.

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6pintsofkramer 08/29/2011 at 11:44 am

Interesting to know that Bryant wanted him at UA.

Missy Dye McDonald 08/29/2011 at 10:12 pm

Yes, Dad coached for “Bear” Bryant for 9 years at Alabama. They were very close friends and had a lot of mutual respect for one another. I’m sure you’ve seen the hunting pictures taken just prior to Coach Bryants passing. They kept in close touch after Dad took a head coaching job at ECU, leaving behind his coaching career at University of Alabama with Coach Bryant. Coach Bryant actually came to visit our home in Greenville, NC while Dad was coaching at ECU. Mom cooked him fried chicken and turnip greens, his favorite and I helped serve the meal and clean the house before he came. Mom has a handwritten thank you note framed that Coach Bryant wrote her for the meal.

Stephen 08/29/2011 at 1:07 pm

I’d like to know what was Coach Dye’s reaction to Auburn winning the National Championship FINALLY!!! Were they there? Where did they watch it? What did they do?

Also, a question I’ve also wanted to ask so many players; any regrets about playing at Auburn? What about missing out on tailgating or rolling Toomers? Has he (or other past players) done this since they’ve stepped away from Auburn?

Thanks ‘Bloger…

Missy Dye McDonald 08/29/2011 at 10:22 pm

Dad told myself, Jay Jacobs and others that “I dont mind being the one who brought ’em through the dessert and enjoy watching them cross over the river and Coach Chizik brought them to the Promise Land.” It was a thrill of lifetime for him. Dad was at the game along with my brother Pat Jr. and myself…Pat Jr. and I cried after winning. I was thinking about Dad and grateful he got to see it happen…especially with some of his former players/coaches at the helm coaching or in the athletic department staff and university administration. Afterwardds, Dad was asked to take the trophy stage for pictures with Coach Chizik, AD Jay Jacobs (former player) and others. It meant the world to him to see the current players and coaches win but the entire Auburn Family win it….finally!

Stephen 08/30/2011 at 1:11 pm

Thank you so much for the reply. I am honored.

Please pass along my thanks for all of his years of faithful service to the school, team and the Family. I also hope that he is feeling better after his medical “mishap” a few weeks ago; I will pray for him. War Eagle!!

Stephen W.
Class of 2006

jlngirl 08/29/2011 at 4:32 pm

I got to walk beside Coach Dye on my way into the National Championship Game. It served to make my day even more wonderful. All I manage to do and say was to look him in the eyes and say, “Coach Dye, I love you!”. He probably thought I was crazy. I think my husband did! Thanks for giving us a glimpse “inside the man.”

Missy Dye McDonald 08/29/2011 at 10:24 pm

Dad is a loving and generous man, I’m sure he enjoyed meeting you. Thank you for your kind words!

Chad 08/29/2011 at 8:39 pm

I would like to ask Missy why Coach Dye continues to have a segment on the Finebaum circus. While I’ve enjoyed listening to his segment on there for years, I think Finebaum has officially jumped the shark. I know PFD doesn’t think much of PF, and I pray he either punks the hell out of Paul this year or just declines altogether. PF has done a lot to hurt AU in the last 12 months.

P.S. I really enjoyed the Q&A.

Missy Dye McDonald 08/29/2011 at 10:27 pm

The Craneworks Company sponsors the show and I understand that segment is the most listened to the entire week…Dad enjoys talking about football, I enjoy listening to him. I’m like you and can do without the rest of the antics PF puts out there…Dad says “It’s PF’s way of making a living”…

Jim Scott 08/29/2011 at 8:43 pm

I’d like for Coach to know how much he’s meant to Auburn and the Auburn family. He achieved so much at Auburn, but more than anything, he’s responiible for “leveling the playing field” so to speak with Alabama and the results of that is obvious since he did that. Auburn people will be eternally grateful. I wish Coach good health and many more years of happiness.

Missy Dye McDonald 08/29/2011 at 10:32 pm

Thank you Jim, really appreciate your kind words, I will pass along to him. He knew that was the job he had to accomplish when he was asked to coach at Auburn. The administration and those who worked with Dad were very supportive of that goal. It meant so much to him to have the Auburn Family support throughout his career there.

hunter 08/29/2011 at 11:41 pm

Missy, moving to Auburn in the middle of your high school senior year had to be difficult. Did you go through a period where you resented your dad and/or Auburn for putting you through that?

Missy Dye McDonald 08/30/2011 at 9:46 am

Thanks Hunter, not at all…we had to eat Ha! I was really proud for Dad, what a great opportunity and I loved getting back to Alabama. The move taught me to be flexible in life and adjust to whatever curves life throws you.

Shannon Clark 09/05/2011 at 6:56 pm

Mrs. McDonald,
I am a 1994 UA graduate and a former high school football coach. I just want to say that the two coaches I most admired while playing & coaching football were Coach Bryant & your father. I always considered them very similar, a “player’s coach”, so to speak. I enjoyed reading your post & I wish your father continued good health in the future.

Debbie 01/08/2014 at 12:47 pm

I got to meet and talk with Coach Dye in Montgomery at a book signing in Dec. He was just as I had imagined, a hero that is larger than life. To my surprise he asked me to sit next to him for a picture. Then to my amazement he started to talk family and Auburn football. I started to tell him about the game that my AL fan husband declared “Auburn has got them a coach!” Your Dad said, “wait let me guess, Miss. State!”! He was right! He then signed a picture for him of he and Coach Bryant. To Charles, Roll Tide and War Eagle! Husband said, “My Best Christmas gift”! I would like to thank you and your for sharing Coach Dye with the Auburn Family! War a Eagle!

Glenn Dortch 01/08/2014 at 4:23 pm

I would like to echo the sentiments of the previous posts. Coach Dye will forever hold a special place in the Auburn family.

I had a unique opportunity to meet him in October 2012 at a charity golf tournament. I saw Coach at the pairings party the night before the tournament, introduced myself to him, and he was nice enough to pose for a quick picture with me.

The REAL treat came the following morning. Fortuitously, we had both stayed at the same hotel. I was eating breakfast in the hotel lobby by myself when Coach walked up to my table and asked if he could sit with me. I almost swallowed my tongue I was so excited. Not surprisingly, he was just a regular guy. He asked more about me and who I worked for, etc. We also talked about his time as head coach and about a couple of specific games. It was one of the most special experiences that I have ever had. After we finished eating and parted ways, I texted my wife and told her “if I die today, I will die a happy man”.

Thank you for sharing some of your personal experiences, Missy. And thanks to Coach and your entire family for being such a big part of why Auburn is the special place that it is.

War Eagle!

Kerry 01/04/2016 at 11:26 am

I would like to talk to Missy on a personal level…I am sure he knew my Mom. I believe they dated in 1956.

Cathy Stokes Heath 12/02/2016 at 12:42 am

I remember waiting on your Mom and Dad at Blount Harvey when he was at ECU. My sister has been working at Auburn for almost 25 years. She currently works in the Stamford building.
Happy Holidays

LeRae Rainer 06/01/2020 at 5:07 pm

A very sad day about Coach Dyys passsing!
Hey certainly brought Auburn a new Attitude and was an amazing coach! He will be so missed! War Eagle. Rest in peace!

Greg Ingalls 06/02/2020 at 11:52 pm

Missy, so sorry to hear Coach Dye’s passing. All my family is from Lee County and about all my people went to Auburn. I went to East Carolina University. Coach Dye came there in my freshman year after Coach Randle left for UVa. Football had been good at ECU but never as good as it was when he coached there in the mid to late 70’s. He made things better wherever he went.

Marc Nitka 08/30/2020 at 3:10 pm

So sorry about the passing of coach Dye. I only watched him on tv, but through the tv screen I could see how much he loved his players. If I could of been half the coach he was. May God bless your family.


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