MSU officials announce head coach Mike Leach dies at age 61

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach died Monday evening following complications from a heart condition. He was 61. 

Leach suffered a personal health issue at his home early on Sunday. The issue led to a decision to transfer Leach to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson by ambulance. The Leach family released the following statement:

“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.  Thank you for sharing in the joy of our beloved husband and father’s life.”

“Mike’s death also underscores the fragility and uncertainty of our lives,” Mississippi State President Mark Keenum said. “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,” Keenum said.

Mississippi State hired Leach in January 2020. In three seasons as the Bulldogs’ head coach, he posted a 19-17 record including two bowl game appearances. MSU got better in each year of Leach’s tenure as his team saw a three-win improvement in 2021 followed by an eight-win season this year. 

Leach was a Power Five head coach for 21 of 23 seasons dating back to his first year with Texas Tech in 2000. He was the Red Raiders’ head coach from 2000-2009, and the Washington State Cougars’ HC from 2012-19 up until he arrived in Starkville. 

Mark Keenum and Interim Athletics Director Bracky Brett announced Sunday the decision to place defensive coordinator Zach Arnett in charge of the football program for the time being. 

Leach is survived by his wife Sharon and children Janeen, Kimberly, Kiersten, and Cody. 

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