Mike Leach, the football coach of Mississippi State, passed away Monday night due to complications stemming from a heart condition. He was 61. Leach’s family issued a statement shortly after his passing, remembering him as “a giving and attentive husband, father, and grandfather.”
His family also noted that he was an organ donor. “He was able to participate in organ donation at UMMC (University of Mississippi Medical Center) as a final act of charity,” they noted. Organ donations are often life-saving and can result in people in dire need of transplants getting a procedure that they need to survive.
Leach’s family noted in their statement that they’ve received support from a wide range of people in the hours following his passing. “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,” they remarked. “Thank you for sharing in the joy of our beloved husband and father’s life.”
According to the University of Mississippi, Leach suffered from a “personal health issue” at his home Sunday. He was airlifted to a hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, to receive treatment. His players saw him at practice on Saturday, where he said he was feeling better after a bout of pneumonia.
Leach will be remembered as a great coach by college football fans. He held a 19-17 record during his time with Mississippi State, where he coached for two full seasons before this shortened campaign. This season, he’d led the Bulldogs to an impressive 8-4 record. Before coaching for Mississippi State, he was the head coach for Washington State. During this time, he won the AFCA Coach of the Year Award in 2018.
From 2000 to 2009, he coached at Texas Tech. He became known for his energetic personality and lightning-fast offensive plays.
“We are heartbroken and devastated by the passing of Mike Leach,” Bracky Brett, the interim athletic director for Mississippi State, stated after hearing news of Leach’s passing. “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.”
The team has recently looked to defensive coordinator Zach Arnett. He was placed in charge of the Bulldogs when Leach was rushed to the hospital. Time will tell if he’ll serve as the new full-time head coach or if the school will tap another coach to fill Leach’s former position.