This was Dye’s first game as Auburn’s head football coach. Auburn won, 24 to 16. Alabama Media GroupAlabama Media Group
By Tom Green | [email protected]
Auburn legend Pat Dye, who died Monday at the age of 80, was laid to rest Tuesday evening beneath a tree on his farm in Notasulga.
Dye, who rejuvenated a dormant Auburn football program in the 1980s and took the Tigers to new heights, had a small, private funeral, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. The tree under which the longtime Auburn coach and athletics director was buried held significant meaning to Dye, as it was grown from a trimming from the original Toomer’s oaks, according to the report.
Those oaks, which long stood at Toomer’s Corner in the heart of downtown Auburn, had been rolled with toiler paper by fans during momentous celebrations dating back to 1962. The original trees were poisoned by Alabama fan Harvey Updyke in 2010, slowly killing the oaks and eventually leading Auburn to remove them in April 2013 despite unsuccessful efforts to save them.
Dye saved a trimming from one of those oaks and spent years nurturing and tending to what is now a 15-foot-tall tree on the late coach’s farm. According to the report, in lieu of a casket, Dye was buried in a simple white shroud.
Jimmy Rane, one of Dye’s closest friends and a longtime Auburn booster, told the Banner-Herald that Dye wanted to be buried without a casket because he wanted to “fertilize this tree and for my spirit to hover around this tree.”
Rane was reportedly one of four Auburn figures to attend Dye’s funeral along with the late coach’s family. Heisman-winning running back Bo Jackson, who played for Dye; longtime Auburn assistant coach Joe Whitt Sr., who coached under Dye; and current Auburn assistant Rodney Garner, who also played for Dye, were the others in attendance.
A public memorial to honor Dye will be held at a later date, with details announced once they are finalized.