Monday, May 23, 2011

Auburn great Pyburn dies

Couetesy of Auburn sports information

AUBURN - Jim Pyburn, 78, a former football All-American end and baseball player at Auburn and outfielder with the Baltimore Orioles, passed away on Saturday evening in Jasper following a long illness.

He earned All-America honors as a junior with 28 receptions for 460 yards and two touchdowns in 1954. The 13th-ranked Tigers went 8-3, winning seven straight games to end the season that included a 28-0 win over Alabama and a 33-13 victory over Baylor in the Gator Bowl. He caught 23 passes for 379 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore in 1953.

“Jim Pyburn was one of the greatest two-sport athletes in Auburn history and his passing is a sad day for the Auburn family,” Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Pyburn family during their time of grief.”

A two-time All-SEC selection in football in the 1953 and 1954 seasons, Pyburn once held the Auburn record for yards by a receiver in a season when the late Coach Ralph Jordan said, “We have a passing attack … just throw the ball in Pyburn’s direction.”

Pyburn led the Southeastern Conference with his .432 batting average in 1954 as he was an All-SEC selection. After receiving All-America honors for football his junior year, he passed up his senior season to play professional baseball.

The Fairfield native played three seasons for the Baltimore Orioles from 1955-57 and was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

Pyburn was a former longtime Georgia football defensive assistant coach under Vince Dooley at Georgia from 1964, Dooley’s first year, through 1979. His son, Jeff, was a Georgia quarterback from 1976-79.

The funeral will be held Wednesday, May 25, at Elmwood Cemetery and Chapel, 600 Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr., Birmingham, Ala. Visitation begins at 2:00 p.m. CT with the service to follow at 3:00 p.m.

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