"Dave lived a great life that anyone could be proud of," Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said. "He will be missed, but we are honored to have had the opportunity to know him."
Brown won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and also played with the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers during a productive NFL career.
A 1984 All-Pro selection, Brown finished his career with 62 interceptions, tying Dick LeBeau for seventh on the NFL's career list. Brown also holds the all-time record in Seattle with 50 interceptions. He tied an NFL record with two interception returns for touchdowns Nov. 4, 1984, against Kansas City.
Brown, who had coached the Red Raiders' secondary since 2001, would have turned 53 on Jan. 16.
At Pittsburgh, Brown was part of the Steelers team that won the Super Bowl in 1976 against the Dallas Cowboys. He was picked up by Seattle in the expansion draft later that year, and remained with the Seahawks for 10 more seasons before finishing his career with the Packers.
Brown was hoping to be in Seattle on Saturday for a reunion of members of the Seahawks' "Ring of Honor" members at Qwest Field but an obligation in Lubbock was keeping him from attending. The ceremony will take place at halftime of Seattle's playoff game against the Washington Redskins.
Seattle will observe a moment of silence for Brown at its playoff game, "to reflect upon not only a great football player, but also a great man," Seahawks chief executive officer Tod Leiweke said.
Brown was one of seven members of the "Ring of Honor." He was the defensive captain on the last Seahawks team to win a playoff game in 1984.
"I'm totally numb. It really is a shock," said former Seattle quarterback Jim Zorn, who played with Brown from 1976-84 and is now the Seahawks' quarterbacks coach.
"I just talked to him recently, while he was out on the recruiting trail for Texas Tech. Obviously, there were no signs anything was wrong. We just lost a really good friend."
Tight end Charle Young, who played with Brown from 1983-85, also remembers Brown as supremely fit.
"He stayed in shape, even into his 40s," Young said, adding Brown was one of the best racquetball players anyone in Seattle ever knew.
Brown was a unanimous All-America in 1974 at Michigan and garnered All-Big Ten honors for three years there. He was also named to the school's All-Century team. He garnered All-Big Ten honors from 1972-74.
He played for East High School in Akron, Ohio. Brown was active in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and held weekly Bible studies for Texas Tech student-athletes.
He is survived by his wife, Rhonda, and two sons, Aaron and Sterling.