HomeWorldMike Leach, Mississippi State football coach, dies at 61

Mike Leach, Mississippi State football coach, dies at 61


Mike Leach, the head football coach at Mississippi State University, has died, the school announced in a statement. She was 61 years old.

Leach died on Monday, December 12, after his hospitalization over the weekend for health complications associated with a heart condition, according to the university. In comments shared with the State of Mississippi, Leach’s family paid tribute to him as a husband, father and grandfather, as well as her career and her rise to prominence within the collegiate sports arena.

“Mike was a generous and caring husband, father and grandfather,” the family said, noting that Leech became an organ donor, describing the donation as “a last act of charity.”

“We are supported and encouraged by the outpouring of love and prayers from family, friends, Mississippi State University, hospital staff and football fans around the world,” the family continued. “Thank you for sharing the joy of life with our loving husband and father.”

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Head coach Mike Leach watches from the sidelines during the first quarter of the Washington State Cougars’ game against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium on November 8, 2014 in Corvallis, Oregon.

Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images


Leach was admitted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, on Sunday due to an incident at his home in Starkville that the state of Mississippi initially described as a “Personal health problem.

By Monday, the university reported that Leach’s condition remained critical, though he did not provide details about the specific medical concerns that preceded his hospitalization until the latest announcement confirming his death.

“Mike’s family stands with him and appreciates the overwhelming expressions of love and support for Coach, but also requests that his family’s privacy be respected at this time,” the university said Monday afternoon. “That is the extent of the information MSU has available about Coach Leach’s condition, and the university will not comment further at this time.”

News of Leach’s hospitalization sparked a wave of supportive messages on social media from the coach’s colleagues, including the head football coaches at the University of Houston, the University of Alabama, Louisiana State University and the University of Southern California.

Leach managed the Mississippi State Bulldogs for nearly three full seasons, joining the team in the fall of 2020. Following his hospitalization over the weekend, the university announced that its defensive coordinator, Zach Arnett, would replace Leach as head coach at boss in an interim position. until his return. It is unclear if Arnett will now hold the position for a longer term.

Mississippi Saint Mississippi Football
Mississippi State coach Mike Leach talks with quarterback Will Rogers during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi on Thursday, November 24, 2022.

Rogelio V. Solis / AP


In its announcement Tuesday, Mississippi State called Leech an icon and “one of the most successful coaches in college football history,” noting his history of mentoring that helped guide other coaches through the early stages. of his own career. careers

“Coach Mike Leach cast a tremendous shadow not only on Mississippi State University, but on the entire college football landscape,” said Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University. “His groundbreaking ‘Air Raid’ offense changed the game. Mike’s sharp intellect and unabashed candor made him one of the nation’s true coaching legends. His passing brings great sadness to our university, Southeastern Conference and everyone who loved college football.”

Born March 9, 1961, in Susanville, California, Leach grew up in Cody, Wyoming, the oldest of six children. After graduating from Brigham Young University, where he played on the rugby team, in 1983, Leach earned a master’s degree from the US Sports Academy and, later, a law degree from Pepperdine University.

Prior to joining the staff at Mississippi State, Leach served as the head football coach at Texas Tech and Washington State University. In addition to coaching, he worked for a time as an analyst for the CBS College Sports Network and as a co-host of the SiriusXM radio show “College Football Playbook.” He published an autobiography about his life and athletic career, titled “Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and in Life,” in 2011. His second book, “Geronimo: Leadership Strategies of an American Warrior,” was published in 2014. .

Leach is survived by his wife, Sharon, and their four children, Janeen, Kimberly, Cody, and Kiersten.





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