Samford head coach Pat Sullivan to miss opener vs. TCU

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Samford head coach Pat Sullivan will miss the Bulldogs' trip to TCU on Saturday, the school announced Wednesday.

"My doctors have advised me not to travel at this time due to a complication from a surgery earlier this year," he said in a statement. "We have an incredible coaching staff that has done a great job preparing our team for the season opener. I have full confidence that our coaches and student-athletes will make the Samford family proud on Saturday."

There's never a good time for a head coach to miss his team's game, but Saturday's opener is an especially bad time for Sullivan. As TCU's head coach from 1992-97, Sullivan was to be a part of the Horned Frogs' celebration of the 20-year anniversary of the club's 1994 Southwest Conference championship.

"I am happy that my wife, Jean, along with our son, Patrick, and daughter, Kelly, will be there to support the Bulldogs and reconnect with many of our old TCU friends."

This marks the third consecutive season Sullivan has missed Samford's season opener. He missed the 2012 opener, a 24-21 win over Furman, due to a bout with pneumonia, and missed the first three games of the 2013 season due to recovery from back surgery. 

Assistant head coach Bill D'Ottavio filled in for Sullivan each time, leading Samford to a 3-1 mark in Sullivan's absence. We have heard D'Ottavio did a superb job filling in for Sullivan. 

As we tweeted earlier, Sullivan has taken on a reduced workload leading into this season.

Sullivan is 40-39 in six seasons as Samford's head coach.