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Mississippi State Coach Mike Leach Dies at 61

Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach died Monday (December 12) night at the age of 61 following complications from a heart condition, the school announced in a news release Tuesday (December 13) morning.

"Mike was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather," the Leach family said in an official statement. "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. Thank you for sharing in the joy of our beloved husband and father's life."

Mississippi State University had previously confirmed Leach's hospitalization at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson for "a personal health issue" in an official statement shared on its website Sunday (December 11) night.

Leach, 61, took over as Mississippi State's head coach in 2020 after previous tenures with Washington State (2012-19) and Texas Tech (2012-19).

The California native had a collegiate career head coaching record of 158-107, which included a 19-17 (11-15 SEC) record during his current tenure at Mississippi State, as well as having previously won the Big 12 South division title in 2008 at Texas Tech and the Pac-12 North division title in 2018 at Washington State.

Leach, a former two-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year (2015, 2018) and Big 12 Coach of the Year (2008), was one of college football's biggest personalities, having shared numerous viral soundbites throughout his coaching career while excelling as an offensive-minded coach credited for helping popularize the "Air Raid" offense.

"Coach Mike Leach cast a tremendous shadow not just over Mississippi State University, but over the entire college football landscape," MSU President Mark E. Keenum said. "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."

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