STARKVILLE, MS – College football is mourning the loss of a head coach who was known for his innovative offense and charismatic personality.
Mike Leach, the head coach of Mississippi State University, died at the age of 61 on Monday evening due to complications from a heart condition, the school announced in a news release on Tuesday morning.
This came two days after Leach suffered what was described as a “personal health issue” at his home in Starkville, Mississippi. Leach was then transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, where he remained until his death on Monday evening.
“Mike was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather. He was able to participate in organ donation at UMMC as a final act of charity. 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,” said the Leach family in a statement released through Mississippi State University. “Thank you for sharing in the joy of our beloved husband and father’s life.”
Leach had just completed his third season with the Bulldogs after being hired in January 2020 and was preparing for the ReliaQuest Bowl on January 2 against Illinois at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
He just completed his 21st year as a Division I head coach where he had a record of 158-107 and led his teams to 19 bowl games. Leach spent ten seasons at Texas Tech along with eight at Washington State before his three seasons in Starkville.
His famed “Air Raid” offense led to a highly successful and entertaining tenure with the Red Raiders as he led that program to a bowl game in all ten seasons with a Big 12 South division title in 2008.
At Washington State, Leach helped the program to six postseason games and the 2018 Pac-12 North division title. In three seasons with the Bulldogs, the coach had a 19-17 record with three bowl appearances.
While known for his success, Leach also became famous for his news conferences where he would comment on a number of non-football topics in his own unique style.
In 2022, Mississippi State went 8-4 and is currently ranked 22nd in the Associated Press rankings and 24th in the coaches poll. Before Leach’s death, defensive Coordinator Zach Arnett was named the interim head coach for the program.