One of the most instrumental figures in Auburn University athletics was the school's former head football coach, Pat Dye.
Not only did Dye reverse a trend of a decade of losses to archrival Alabama upon his arrival as head coach at Auburn, he eventually modernized the entire athletic program to become what it is today.
Dye passed in 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. However, in his passing, YellaWood CEO Jimmy Rane allocated resources for a documentary set to air on Alabama Public Television next month.
During an interview that was taped at last week's Business Council of Alabama conference and aired on Friday, Rane discussed the beginnings of his relationship with Dye that went back to Rane's days coaching football in his hometown of Abbeville.
"Well, Pat Dye was a very important figure in my life," he said. "I say all the time the person that I respected the most was my father, but Pat and I formed a relationship way back when he was first at Alabama. I was a coach — a high school coach. I coached pee wee, junior varsity and some varsity, 22 years. And we had a player at Abbeville, Leroy Cook. The first time the boy ever put a football uniform on was for me in the eighth grade. And he turned out to be a great football player. In his high school years, he was being recruited by everybody — Alabama, Auburn. So Pat came down recruiting him for 'Bear' [Bryant]. That's where we met."
"It's odd because when [Cook] was a senior in high school, he was married, and his secretary worked for me. And so, I was urging him to go to Auburn, but Pat was more persuasive," Rane continued. "We became friends, and when Pat came back to Auburn in 1981, we renewed our friendship, and we became very, very close friends, and we both did a lot of things together on and off the field and went through some tough times, not athletically, but personally together. He wound up on my board and served on my board for 26 years until he passed away. But I knew the soul of the man. I knew who he was, and when he passed away, I wanted his story to be told. So, we spent two years making that film, and I'm really proud of it."
"Mighty: The Life and Legacy of Pat Dye" will air on Alabama Public Television on September 25 at 8 p.m.
Jeff Poor is the editor in chief of 1819 News and host of "The Jeff Poor Show," heard Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon on Mobile's FM Talk 106.5. To connect or comment, email jeff.poor@1819News.com or follow him on Twitter @jeff_poor.
Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.