UPDATE: Miss. State football coach passes away; family requests privacy
STARKVILLE, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi State University football coach Mike Leach has died. He was taken to UMMC this weekend after experiencing “a personal health issue” at his home.
MSU spokesman Sid Salter said Leach’s family is with him and they are requesting privacy at this time.
“This is the extend of information that MSU has available regarding Coach Leach’s condition, and the university will make no other comment at this time. MSU will issue additional information via social media when it becomes available,” Salter wrote.
Leach was airlifted to UMMC on Sunday after initially being treated at Oktibbeha County Hospital in Starkville.
The 61-year-old coach, now in his third year at State, was slated to lead the Bulldogs (8-4, 4-4) to the ReliaQuest Bowl on January 2. Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett has been put in charge of the team as it prepares for the matchup, according to the Associated Press.
Practice for the ReliaQuest Bowl game and recruiting operations will continue. MSU will issue additional information via social media when it becomes available. (4 of 4)— Sid Salter (@sidsalter) December 11, 2022
The football world is rallying around the coach.
Alabama Football reached this statement: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike Leach, his wife Sharon, their family and the doctors treating him. Mike’s infectious personality and passion for the game have impacted the sport in so many positive ways during his career.”
Coach Prime also is praying for the coach’s recovery.
Praying fervently for Coach Leach. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) December 12, 2022
Dana Holgorsen, head coach of the University of Houston, went to Twitter to say his thoughts were with his mentor. “While I am devastated by today’s news, I know Mike is a fighter with an incredible spirit and I know he will continue to battle.”
My thoughts are with my mentor, my colleague and, more importantly, my friend, Mike Leach. While I am devastated by today’s news, I know Mike is a fighter with an incredible spirit and I know he will continue to battle. Prayers to Sharon and their extended family. 🙏🏼— Dana Holgorsen (@Holgorsendana) December 12, 2022
OM Rebel Nation, meanwhile, became a fan of Leach years ago, when the Leach’s Texas Tech Red Raiders defeated their in-state rivals, the Texas Longhorns.
State government leaders also have shown their support, including Gov. Tate Reeves and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann.
Coach Leach is a fighter with a second-to-none personality, serious skills on the football field, and a heart for his players and @msstate. We request your prayers for Coach Leach, his family, and the healthcare professionals at UMMC who are caring for him. https://t.co/u356NPML0f— Delbert Hosemann (@DelbertHosemann) December 12, 2022
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