Mississippi State University Head Football Coach Mike Leach had a personal health issue at his home earlier today (Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022). That issue led to a decision to transfer Coach Leach to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson by ambulance. That is the extent of information that MSU has available regarding Coach Leach’s condition, and the university will make no other comment at this time other than to say that the thoughts and prayers of the university are with Mike and Sharon and their family.
MSU President Mark E. Keenum and Interim MSU Athletics Director Bracky Brett have conferred, and the decision has been made to place MSU Defensive Coordinator Zach Arnett in charge of the MSU football team until Coach Leach returns. Practice for the ReliaQuest Bowl game and recruiting operations will continue.
Hope he recovers. A lot of common ground, one of the most interesting personalities in CFB.
Damn. We may lose an FNL great.
Ugh. I feel awful for his family. It sucks losing a family mber but even worse someone that young during the holidays.
RIP, Coach Leach.
My mind first goes to “what a tragedy”, second to “savor your life, it can end anytime” and third to “I wonder what that transfer portal player thinks about the drag on Leach in his portal announcement”.
Famous tweeter David Burge described Leach as “Norm McDonald as a college football coach”. That is a great description. He was only 61. Very sad.
As one who is a year younger, and had my own health scare this year, his passing is a reminder the door can close a whole lot faster that anyone expects.
Condolences to his family and may his memory be a blessing to them at this time.
Burge did a thread on Leach moments back in October. It’s a fun sampling of some of Leach’a eccentricity and lovability.
I always respected Leach, both for his unusual journey and very funny additions to the sports mosaic, but also because a book he wrote that really resonated with the son of a from HS friend who had also tragically passed too young: “Leadership Principles of Geronimo”, which was a serious work about how Geronimo led his people.
This young Native American kid I took under my wing after his mom passed really appreciated the book, not just because it was from funnyman Mike Leach, but it covered with respect a Native American hero.
The other salute I have for Leach is for how he rallied his team when the Utes went up 21-0 in 2014. We were all giddy about getting up on Wazzu so quickly, then Leach called a timeout and huddled the entire team around him and really gave them a motivational speech. The Cougs beat us 24-21. It was a sobering “Welcome to the PAC” moment… and I always wondered exactly what Leach said to his team, because it was a day & night difference in how they fought.
Highly unorthodox man, who followed his own path and had a lot of success and impacted many people, often with humor.
This 2014 game vs WSU nearly broke me as a Utah fan. Thanks for bringing it up.
Mike Leach is a “complicated” figure at best. I got to know him a little bit in College when I worked as an ABC Affiliate news producer and would sometimes have to cover UK Football and he was Hal Mumme’s QB Coach. I know his time at Texas Tech and recent issues at MSU make him ‘complicated.’
Chris Kamrani did a couple of Leach columns. Sorry for the paywall.
He was a student at BYU when Kyle was demolishing the WAC defensively as a LB, then he went to Pepperdine law school, never took any bar exam and decided to become a FB coach.
There are things that happen within football programs that are ugly, people getting pushed far outside their comfort zone to try and achieve their potential. I’ve seen them. (But I haven’t seen them under Whitt, didn’t see them under Mac, besides lots of swearing, which really isn’t abnormal in sports.)
Leach is a complicated figure, not unlike some of the Founding Fathers. (I’m not comparing a CFB coach with the Founders, just sayin’…)
It’s a valid point though.
From a non-sport angle, I will take him over a significant number of today’s coaches (e.g. Missouri State, Auburn, etc).
Interesting to note the similarities between the Pirate and Big Rick. Both guys with varied interests, quotable, funny and a great interview. Great at their jobs, but not without some hesitation in specific techniques (use of sheds and defensive spacing demonstrations). Definitely people you’d want to sit down and enjoy a beverage of your choice and riff on whatever.