Mike Leach, head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, passed away at age 61 on Monday night. The school released a statement on behalf of the family notifying fans and players of the beloved Leach’s passing this morning.
“We are supported and uplifted by the outpouring of love and prayers from family, friends, Mississippi State University, the hospital staff, and football fans around the world. Thank you for sharing in the joy of our beloved husband and father’s life.”
Leach was hospitalized on Sunday evening and was airlifted from Starkville to Jackson, Mississippi, the day after he led his team at practice on Saturday.
Mississippi State president Mark E. Keenum spoke about coach Leach in a statement, shared by ESPN.
“Coach Mike Leach cast a tremendous shadow not just over Mississippi State University, but over the entire college football landscape. His innovative ‘Air Raid’ offense changed the game. Mike’s keen intellect and unvarnished candor made him one of the nation’s true coaching legends. His passing brings great sadness to our university, to the Southeastern Conference, and to all who loved college football. I will miss Mike’s profound curiosity, his honesty, and his wide-open approach to pursuing excellence in all things. Mike’s death also underscores the fragility and uncertainty of our lives. Three weeks ago, Mike and I were together in the locker room celebrating a hard-fought victory in Oxford. Mike Leach truly embraced life and lived in such a manner as to leave no regrets. That’s a worthy legacy. May God bless the Leach family during these days and hours. The prayers of the Bulldog family go with them.”
Leach had stints as a head coach at Texas Tech (2000-2009) and Washington State (2012-2019) before landing the head coaching job at Mississippi State three seasons ago. He led the team to an 8-4 record this season and was in the midst of preparing for the ReliaQuest Bowl, where the team is set to face Illinois on January 2, 2023.
The school’s interim athletics director also released a statement, shared by Fox News, where she said the following.
“We are heartbroken and devastated by the passing of Mike Leach. College football lost one of its most beloved figures today, but his legacy will last forever. Mike’s energetic personality, influential presence and extraordinary leadership touched millions of athletes, students, coaches, fans, family and friends for decades.Mike was an innovator, pioneer and visionary. He was a college football icon, a coaching legend but an even better person. We are all better for having known Mike Leach. The thoughts and prayers of Mississippi State University and the entire Bulldog family are with his wife Sharon, his children and the entire Leach family.”
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