Mississippi State Football Coach Tragedy


Brittany Anderson, Writer, photographer

Mike Leach arrived in Starkville on January 9, 2020, as Mississippi State’s 34th head football coach. He led the Bulldogs to a 19-17 record, including an 8-4 mark in 2022, and bowl appearances in all three seasons. Leach was known as a pioneering and unfiltered college football coach who helped revolutionize the passing game with the Air Raid offense. Leach was known to have a heart condition and died following complications from his condition. He died at the age of 61 on December 12th, which was Monday night. Leach fought through pneumonia late in the season and many would notice when he would uncontrollably cough during news conferences or meetings, but he had seemed to be improving. The news went around about Leach falling gravely ill which left many stunned and everyone hoped and prayed it was nothing serious and that he would be back on his feet shortly. Many of the athletes and directors that worked around Leach would describe him as an innovator, pioneer, and visionary. On fox news, one of the interim athletics directors Bracky Brett said in a statement, “College football lost one of its most beloved figures today, but his legacy will last forever. Mike’s energetic personality, influential presence, and extraordinary leadership touched millions of athletes, students, coaches, fans, family, and friends for decades.” They also said, “He was a college football icon, a coaching legend but an even better person. We are all better for having known Mike Leach. The thoughts and prayers of Mississippi State University and the entire Bulldog family are with his wife Sharon, his children, and the entire Leach family.” Leach had many good seasons while coaching. In 21 seasons as a head coach at Texas Tech, Washington State, and Mississippi State, Leach went 158-107. From what you can see about Mike Leach over the internet and what you see from the people that knew him, Leach seemed like not only a good coach but a good person. Leach was known for his pass-happy offense, wide-ranging interests — he wrote a book about Native American leader Geronimo, had a passion for pirates, and taught a class about insurgent warfare — and rambling, off-the-cuff news conferences. After reading about Mike Leach, I can see how big of an impact he had and how he was admired by many.