Iowa State defensive line coach Curtis Bray dies at 43

Sam Cooper

Sad news emerged from Ames Wednesday morning as reports trickled out that Iowa State defensive line coach Curtis Bray had passed away. Bray, a married father of two, reportedly collapsed while working out.

As an original part of head coach Paul Rhoads’ staff, Bray had coached the Cyclones defensive line since 2009. Previously, he had stints as an assistant with Duquesne, Western Kentucky, Villanova, Pittsburgh and Temple over his 19-year coaching career.

“Curtis Bray was a dear friend to me and to all he ever came in contact with,” Rhoads said. “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.”

Bray, a native of Monroeville, Pa., was the 1987 Gatorade National High School Football Player of the Year before having a standout collegiate career as a linebacker at Pittsburgh.

“He definitely was a father figure for me with everything that has happened in my life,” defensive end Cory Morrissey said. “I lost my father when I was 14. I learned everything about the position and life lessons from him. He coached beyond the field. He coached young men to become men.”

Morrissey, an All-Big 12 honorable mention performer, credited Bray with his on-field success. Morrissey led Iowa State linemen in tackles (52) and was second on the team with 6.5 tackles for loss in his first year as a starter.

“He was so much fun to be around,” Morrissey said. “He could joke around with you and make a tense situation better with his personality. I am really going to remember the way he coached me and the way he coached my position group. 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.”

Bray was just 43 years old.

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