Mike Leach, Mississippi State Football Head Coach, Dead at 61

Mike Leach, a longtime college football coach who spent the last three seasons at Mississippi State, died on Monday night, the school announced. He was 61 years old. Leach was hospitalized on Sunday after suffering a heart attack, according to the Clarion-Ledger

"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," Leach's family said in a statement, per ESPN. "Thank you for sharing in the joy of our beloved husband and father's life."  

On Monday, Mississippi State University announced that Leach was in critical condition at the Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. "Mike's family is with him and appreciates the overwhelming expressions of love and support for the coach, but also requests that their family's privacy be respected at this time," the school said in a statement. "That is the extent of information that MSU has available regarding Coach Leach's condition, and the university will make no other comment at this time."

Leach was hired to be the Mississippi State Bulldogs football head coach in January 2020 after spending eight seasons at Washington State. And before becoming the head coach of the Washington State Cougars, Leach had a successful run with the Texas Red Raiders. At Mississippi State, Leach posted a 19-17 record and led to team to three Bowl appearances in three seasons. His best season was in 2022, leading the Bulldogs to an 8-4 record and a 4-4 record in the SEC. 

Leach coached at Washington State from 2012-2019, and his best season was in 2018 when he led the Cougars to an 11-2 record and a Pac-12 North Championship. Overall, Leach posted a 55-47 record at Washington State and was named Pac-12 coach of the year in 2015 and 2018. 

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In 2000, Leach was hired as the head coach at Texas Tech. He was there for 10 seasons and tallied an 84-43 record while winning the Big 12 Coach of the Year Award in 2008. The 2008 season was Leach's best, leading the Red Raiders to an 11-2 record and winning the Big 12 North Division. 

Leach is known for his "Air Raid" offense and interesting interviews. Last month after Mississippi State defeated East Tennessee State 56-7, Leach revealed what he eats for Thanksgiving. "Oh I always make the gravy and I do make great gravy," Leach said, per Sports Illustrated. "I'm not a big cook…I haven't been…but I've made the gravy for decades. I always get uh white meat, a little stuffing but not too much, some mashed potatoes, gravy over everything. Hopefully, they have greens, they generally don't and then a corner of green beans, never sweet potatoes, and I like fruit pies better than this pumpkin apple stuff."