Gary Brown was much more than just a football coach. To those he coached, it was how he approached every single day that made him such a special person to be around.

Sunday night, Brown passed away after battling a second round of cancer. The former Penn State running back spent one season at Wisconsin as the running backs coach. That might’ve been a short time, but his impact will last a lifetime.

On Monday, Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel spoke with a few Badgers football players about what stood out about Brown most. Without question, it was his attitude and outlook on life.

“How he approached (life) is big to me,” said linebacker Nick Herbig. “We tend to complain about a lot of things — my arm, or a workout or something that is hard. He was battling real-life issues and he put it aside just to be here for us. He loved us.”

Fellow linebacker Darryl Peterson echoed similar sentiments.

“He had that mentality that I’m going to cherish every day and give my best every day,” Peterson said. “That is what we’re going to remember him by, cherish every day.”

Brown had a 9-year NFL career after leaving Penn State. After rushing for 4,300 yards and 21 touchdowns in the professional ranks, he went into coaching.

Brown got his first gig at the FBS level at Rutgers, where he coached running backs in 2008. He then made the jump to the NFL, spending 2009-12 with the Cleveland Browns and 2013-19 with the Dallas Cowboys.

His lone season at Wisconsin was in 2021.