Gary Brown, who served as the Wisconsin running backs coach during the 2021-22 season, died Sunday at the age of 52.
Brown didn’t travel with the football team to the Las Vegas Bowl due to health concerns, and he had spent the most recent weeks in hospice care in his hometown of Williamsport, Pa.
A Penn State star, which turned into an 8-year NFL career, Brown gained respect as a running backs coach. After successful stints with the Cleveland Browns and seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Brown retired from coaching, but came back to coach the 2021 to 2022 Badger running backs.
Brown underwent two bouts with cancer, including after the 2019 season when he was not retained by the Cowboys. He underwent immunotherapy and did not coach in 2020, prior to coming to Wisconsin.
Members of the UW football program shared their remorse.
“Though he was only on our staff for a year, he had a profound impact on our players and our program,” head coach Paul Chryst said in a statement. “We are all better people for having known Gary. He was a tremendous person, a terrific coach and a joy to be around.”
Freshman running back Braelon Allen added on Twitter, “This one hurts … rest easy coach.”
Brown is survived by his wife, Kim, his daughters Malena and Doriana and son Tre.