Mike Leach, a weekly viral sensation
Mississippi State coach Mike Leach talks with Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin before an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss.
Gruff, pioneering and unfiltered, Mississippi State’s Mike Leach was one of the most influential football coaches of this or any generation. His boundless curiosity and fascination for people, places and things made him famous beyond the field, a unique character in sports.
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Leach, who helped revolutionize football from high school to the NFL with the Air Raid offense, died Monday night following complications from a heart condition, the school said Tuesday. He was 61.
Leach fell ill Sunday at his home in Starkville, Mississippi, near the university. He was treated at a local hospital before being airlifted to University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) away.
Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach dies at 61
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,” the family said in a statement issued by Mississippi State.
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.
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Leach fought through a bout with pneumonia late in this season, coughing uncontrollably at times during news conferences, but seemed to be improving, according to those who worked with him.
News of him falling gravely ill swept through college football the past few days and left many who knew him stunned, hoping and praying for a recovery.
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Mike Leach, a weekly viral social media
“It’s hard to put into words the impact that Mike Leach had on the players he coached, the game of football and me personally,” TCU coach Sonny Dykes posted on Twitter.
He was a unique personality and independent thinker and a great friend. No one had a greater influence on my life other than my father.
Mike’s keen intellect and unvarnished candor made him one of the nation’s true coaching legends,” Mississippi State President Mark Keenum said. “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.