Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach died Monday night from heart condition complications, the university announced on Tuesday. He was 61.
“Mike was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather,” the Leach family said in a statement via the school.
“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.”
Southeastern Conference (SEC) Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement: “The life of Mike Leach touched thousands upon thousands of people through his coaching, leadership teaching and insightful commentary.
“We will miss Mike. Every conversation with Mike made you think. His humor, depth and point of view continually challenged all of us to think differently and reevaluate our perspectives … We mourn his untimely passing as we offer our support to Mike’s wife, Sharon, their children and grandchildren, along with his current and former players, coaching colleagues and the Mississippi State community.”
The two-time national coach of the year was in his third year at Mississippi State. He led the Bulldogs to an 8-4 record this season.
Leach compiled a 158-107 overall record in 21 seasons – 10 at Texas Tech, eight at Washington State and three at Mississippi State.
Texas Tech said in a statement, “Texas Tech Athletics joins the countless others across the game of football who mourn the passing of Mike Leach.”
“Coach Leach will be forever remembered as one of the most innovative offensive minds in college football history. His impact on Texas Tech Football alone will live on in history as one of the greatest tenures in the history of our program.”
Similarly, Washington State remembered the man who “changed the game of football.”
WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun said, “We were fortunate to have Coach Leach lead the WSU Football program for 8 years. Mike will be forever loved, terribly missed and never forgotten.”