Concordia (St. Paul) assistant football coach Russell Gary, who played for Minneapolis Central High School, the University of Nebraska and eight years in the NFL, died Sunday, the school announced.

Gary, who graduated from Central in 1977, died of an apparent heart attack. He was 59.

"Coach Gary has been with CSP football since 2004, the past 15 seasons," Concordia coach Shannon Currier wrote in an e-mail. "Coach Gary was a special man that brought instant credibility due to his personality, All-Pro status, and the love he shared with the CSP football family. Coach Gary was loved by so many!"

Gary lettered in basketball, football and track at Minneapolis Central. In basketball, he was recruited by several Division I schools, including Indiana. At Nebraska under legendary coach Tom Osborne, he lettered three years in football as a safety and was an All-Big Eight selection in 1980, and he was inducted in the Cornhuskers Hall of Fame in 2013.

In April 1981, Gary was drafted by the New Orleans Saints, the first player taken in the second round (29th overall). In 1983, he was named All-Pro by UPI. After being waived by the Saints in October 1986, he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. He retired after the 1987 season.

Gary, who lived in Minneapolis, worked for the City of Minneapolis.