Iowa State defensive line coach Curtis Bray has died at the age of 43, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.
School spokesperson Mike Green confirmed to CBSSports.com that Bray died Wednesday morning while arriving at work. A cause of death has not yet been made available.
Bray graduated from Pitt in 1992 after developing into a star linebacker for the Panthers, and would go on to work alongside Cyclones head coach Paul Rhoads when both were Pitt assistants in the early-to-mid-Aughts. Bray rejoined Rhoads in Ames in 2009 and just finished his fifth season with the Cyclones.
"Curtis Bray was a dear friend to me and to all he ever came in contact with," Rhoads said in a statement. "He was a trusted and loyal assistant coach who always put the kids and the team in front of his work. He was as genuine in his approach to relationships, coaching and life as anyone I have ever been associated with. We will miss him dearly."
"He was so much fun to be around," Cyclones defensive end Cory Morrissey said. "He could joke around with you and make a tense situation better ... I really didn't know the defensive end position very well coming into Iowa State. I credit everything to coach Bray and his coaching skills."
A Monroeville, Pa. native, Bray's 19-year coaching career also took him to Pitt's fellow in-state schools Duquesne, Villanova and Temple, as well as Western Kentucky.
"Curtis made indelible contributions as both a player and assistant coach at Pitt. His competitive nature on the field was only surpassed by his kind and gentle demeanor off of it," the University of Pittsburgh athletic department said in a statement, per the AP. "Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and many loved ones. While Curtis will be greatly missed, he will not be forgotten by the many people he touched at Pitt."
Bray is survived by his wife, Heather, and two children.