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Mississippi State HC Mike Leach Passes Away After Health Complications

Mike Leach
Mississippi State head coach and college football legend Mike Leach. Photo via Mississippi State Athletics.

Mississippi State University announced on Tuesday morning that head football coach Mike Leach had passed away on Monday night following “complications from a heart condition.

Leach, a beloved coach in the college football community, was 61 years old at the time of his passing.

“Mike was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather,” the Leach family said in a statement through the university. “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.”

In 1999, Leach joined the Oklahoma staff, led by Bob Stoops, as the offensive coordinator for one year. That one year, though, happened to also be the first year that one future Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel would transfer to the Sooners’ program and take over as the starting quarterback.

Under the offensive scheme of Mike Leach in the 1999 season, Josh Heupel threw for more than 3,400 yards en route to a 7-5 (5-3 B12) season. In 11 games played that year, Heupel completed 310-of-500 passing attempts and threw 30 touchdowns compared to 15 interceptions.

“I am heartbroken on the passing of Coach Leach,” Heupel said in a tweet on Tuesday morning. “In 1999, he gave a kid out of Snow College in Utah a shot at major college football. He saw something in me when no one else did. Like so many across our sport, I am grateful for Coach Leach’s impact on my life both personally and professionally.

“His offensive philosophy and vision were ahead of his time, and they continue to shape the game today. Off the field, he was one of a kind -an incredible storyteller, a man full of wisdom and someone who always cared about his former players and coaches. I enjoyed our friendship over the years. My deepest condolences go out to Coach Leach’s family, his wife Sharon, his kids and grandkids and the entire Mississippi State football program.”

Leach has had countless memorable moments during his 21-year head coaching career. The coach famously known as “The Pirate” spent 10 years at Texas Tech, eight years at Washington State, and had just wrapped up his third season in Starkville with Mississippi State.

Here is a collection of some of the best Mike Leach moments and tributes that people have been posting to social media on Tuesday morning after the news.

Swing your sword, coach. The college football world won’t forget.

Mike Leach Tributes

Mike Leach Memorable Moments

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