Former BYU Standout Brian Gray Will Never Be Forgotten By His Teammates
SALT LAKE CITY – Back in 1998, BYU football landed a letter of intent from a Junior College All-American cornerback named Brian Gray. Gray picked BYU over the likes of San Diego State and Pitt to sign with the Cougars. It was a huge coup for a BYU secondary that in previous years had the likes of Tim McTyer and Omarr “The Blanket” Morgan in the secondary. Those were great memories. Sadly, we only have the memories of Gray going forward.
Former #BYU cornerback Brian Gray passed away on Thursday.
Gray (in front) played at #BYU for two seasons ('98-'99) and was a First-Team All-Conference corner both years.
One of the best CBs in #BYUfootball history.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) January 10, 2020
The former BYU star passed away last week at the age of 43, one day before his 44th birthday. Gray’s funeral services are taking place on Thursday in Dallas, Texas and it will be a celebration of his life that had an impact on so many, including his teammates at BYU.
In two years at BYU from 1998-1999, Gray ended up with three interceptions and two of them ending up as house calls. The best one coming against San Diego State in 1998 with the WAC Pacific Division title on the line and early in the first quarter took an SDSU to the house for BYU’s lone touchdown of the game in the 13-0 win.
The three interceptions Gray ended up with are impressive when you realize it was rare when opposing QBs were throwing to Gray’s side of the field.
Former @BYUfootball defensive back Brian Gray passed away Thursday at the age of 44. He was a two-time All-Conference cornerback in 1998-99. He returned two of his 5 interceptions for touchdowns. I put together a few of his best plays as a Cougar. #BYU #BYUFootball pic.twitter.com/zqopReJ1BM
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) January 11, 2020
Gray’s BYU teammates admired his ability on the field, loved his impressions, and loved how caring he was to everyone on the team. That’s what makes Gray’s passing so difficult. He was a giving man to his teammates and his family.
In recent years, Gray was homeless in Dallas, Texas, because he gave his apartment to his sister who had a child and he wanted them to have the space they needed. He was a selfless man who gave to others and that was remembered by many of his teammates.
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Before Haircut. Brian Gray, 39. Originally from Inglewood, California. Brian is an ex NFL football player. He was an athlete in his younger years and excelled above his competition in both football and basketball and led his team in scoring as a senior. He majored in Sociology and played football throughout college- recruited by top schools such as San Diego State, Iowa State and Pittsburgh In 2000, he was recruited as a free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals. Brian's sister became pregnant and he followed her to Dallas. His sister lives in an apartment with her baby, fiancé, and her mother. His family is aware that he is living without a home, but there is not enough space in a small apartment to accommodate him and he doesn't want to intrude. Brian has a heart of gold and saved another homeless man from being stabbed. Today, he and his friend look out for each other while living on the streets of Dallas. NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER. #BeAwesomeToSomebody #Dallas
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake
“‘BGeezy’ always had a smile on his face and tried to lighten everyone’s day. It was his daily personal mission to try to get LaVell to laugh and smile. It was literally every day! He had so much gratitude for the opportunity to play football at BYU. We mourn the loss of a good friend and brother. He will be missed but not forgotten.”
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) January 10, 2020
Cornerback Doug Henstrom
“Brian was an instant hit on the team when he came in. He got along with everyone and was a total joy to be around. Had an amazing sense of humor and did impressions of everybody, especially coaches.
“Quite frequently at practice when we had a break he’d bust into an impersonation if Coach Brian Mitchell would walk like him, talk like him, act like him all right in front of coach. Even Mitchell couldn’t help but laugh. He was always keeping us loose but still ready to work hard.
“Brian loved holding and playing with my newborn son Hirsche after we had him during the 1998 season. Just a genuine guy who we considered part of the family. Very saddened to hear about his passing. BYU family lost a great one.”
Running Back Will Snowden
“He truly was a great man. He loved people and loved to play football with his brothers. He is without a doubt the most fun teammate I ever played with. He was full of life and love. I am devastated by the loss, but am glad he is able to rest now.”
Linebacker Derik Stevenson
“Brian was everything you’d want in a teammate. He always had your back. He was so talented. Kept everyone’s spirits up. Loyal. Played his ass off every play.”
Gray’s impact on BYU football will never be forgotten.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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