by Rubin Grant
Two of the state’s legendary quarterbacks will be linked forever thanks to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
The ASHOF recently announced the creation of a new award to be named for Bart Starr and Pat Sullivan.
The Starr-Sullivan Achievement Award will recognize a former collegiate quarterback who exhibits exemplary character, integrity and leadership while making a significant contribution in the community.
“We are fortunate to have two great men from our state who excelled at the quarterback position and left a lasting example for everyone on how to lead a life of character amid great success,” said Edgar Welden, ASHOF chairman of the board. “It is an honor for us to have the opportunity to present an award in their name.”
Starr, 85, and his wife, Cherry, are longtime Hoover residents, and Sullivan, 69, and his wife, Jean, live in Vestavia Hills.
The Roads to Glory
Starr grew up in Montgomery, attending Sidney Lanier High School. He played quarterback, safety and punter at the University of Alabama and later starred in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers. He won five NFL championships under legendary coach Vince Lombardi, including Super Bowls I and II. Starr was named MVP of both Super Bowls and won the 1966 NFL MVP Award.
Following his playing career, Starr was head coach of the Packers for nine seasons. In 1965, he and Cherry co-founded Rawhide Boys Ranch with Wisconsin residents John and Jan Gillespie. Rawhide Boys Ranch, located in New London, Wisconsin, is a faith-based organization dedicated to helping at-risk youth. The Starrs continue to provide leadership and financial support to the organization.
Sullivan grew up in Birmingham and played at John Carroll Catholic High School. He attended Auburn University and starred as quarterback under head coach Ralph “Shug” Jordan. Sullivan won the 1971 Heisman Trophy. After six seasons in the NFL, Sullivan went on to coach at Auburn and UAB and served as head coach at Texas Christian University and Samford University.
Since being diagnosed with throat cancer in 2003, Sullivan has battled the disease courageously. The Sullivan family also has partnered with the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center to raise awareness of head and neck cancers as well as provide survivor care programs.
Both Starr and Sullivan are inductees of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
The emphasis of the award named for them is to honor former quarterbacks who have made a significant impact in their community and have brought honor to the state of Alabama.
“I am humbled to be recognized by my home state and to share this honor with football legend, Pat Sullivan,” Starr said in a news release. “The Alabama Sports Hall of Fame is a first-class organization and my wife, Cherry, and I are profoundly grateful for their efforts to celebrate excellence.”
Sullivan was equally humbled.
“It is a privilege to have an award in my name presented from our Hall of Fame; and to share that honor with Bart Starr, a man I truly admire, is a tremendous blessing,” Sullivan said. “I would like to thank the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and the people of Alabama for always being so supportive of me and my career.”
Future recipients of the award must have played at an Alabama institution, or have been born in the state or made a significant contribution to the state.
“This award will give us the opportunity to recognize individuals who have not only made an impact on the football field, but in their community and the lives of others as well,” said ASHOF Executive Director Scott Myers.
The recipient of the award will be selected by the ASHOF board of directors in concurrence with the Starr and Sullivan families.