CARLISLE, Pa. (AP) - Former West Virginia University football player Rick Gilliam has died at the age of 29.
The former offensive lineman died suddenly on Wednesday at his home in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. His mother-in-law, Gretchen Naugle, says an autopsy is being performed to determine the cause of death but that a heart attack is suspected.
Gilliam lettered for the Mountaineers from 1997 to 2000. He started eleven games at right guard in 1999 and 12 at center in 2000.
Former W-V-U coach Don Nehlen says he coached hundreds of athletes in his 21-career with the Mountaineers, but that Gilliam stood out. Nehlen says there may have been better players but Gilliam was one of the most loved and respected.
After college, Gilliam had brief stints with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League and the Indiana Firebirds of the Arena Football League.
At the time of his death, he was working as a security officer for the Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, government.
Gilliam is survived by his wife, Kendra, a nine-month daughter, his parents and a sister.