HomeSportsMississippi State to Play Bowling Game Following Mike Leach's Death

Mississippi State to Play Bowling Game Following Mike Leach’s Death


The state of Mississippi mourns the loss of its head football coach with the news Mike Leach died Monday night at the age of 61 years.

Leach, who was in his third season as head coach at Starkville, led the Bulldogs to an 8-4 record in 2022, earning a spot in the ReliaQuest Bowl against Illinois.

Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach watches his players warm up before playing the Texas A and M Aggies at Kyle Field on October 2, 2021 in College Station, Texas.
(Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Mississippi State plans to finish his season against the Fighting Illini on January 2.

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“The players are 100% behind playing this bowl game and doing what Coach Leach would expect them to do,” interim athletic director Bracky Brett told ESPN. “We all know that’s what Coach Leach would want, and that’s what we need to do.”

Zach Arnett, Mississippi State defensive coordinatorhe was put in charge of the program following Leach’s hospitalization and will coach the team in their game of bowling.

Head coach Mike Leach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs before a game against the Auburn Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium on November 5, 2022 in Starkville, Miss.

Head coach Mike Leach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs before a game against the Auburn Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium on November 5, 2022 in Starkville, Miss.
(Justin Ford/Getty Images)

The match will be played at the Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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“It makes sense that we play this game and honor Coach Leach in a stadium that has a pirate ship,” Brett said.

Brett Bielema, Illinois head coach offered his condolences to Leach’s family following the news of his passing.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Mike Leach,” Bielema said in a statement, according to NBC Chicago. “Today is a sad day for college football. We lost a great coach, a great person and one of the legendary personalities in our sport. Mike and I built a long friendship after first meeting at the Alamo Bowl early from the 2000s. shared so many memories over the years. RIP, Mike.”

Head Coach Mike Leach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs arrives at the stadium before a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on November 6, 2021 in Fayetteville, Ark.

Head Coach Mike Leach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs arrives at the stadium before a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium on November 6, 2021 in Fayetteville, Ark.
(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

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During his 21-year coaching career, Leach led his teams to 19 bowl games.

Leach had a career record of 158-107.



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