Leach’s surprising death leaves a void in college football

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rogelio V Solis/AP/Shutterstock (13637071a) Mississippi State coach Mike Leach talks with Mississippi coach Lane Kiffin before an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss Mississippi St Mississippi Football, Oxford, United States – 24 Nov 2022

Leach’s surprising death leaves a void in college football

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach passed away this morning. He was just 61. Famous for his oddball character and mastery of the Air Raid offense, Leach suffered a massive heart attack on Sunday.

His coaching career spanned stints at Texas Tech, Washington State, and finally, Mississippi State, but most people in Texas remember his great run in Lubbock.

After working with Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, Leach took on the Tech job in 2000. In 10 seasons, he never had a losing record, won five bowl games, and topped out with an 11-2 season in 2008, including a memorable upset of then-No. 1 Texas.

His love of pirates and bizarre sense of humor made him a folk hero in Lubbock. An odd incident with a player led to his dismissal, one that to this day remains questioned.

Leach moved on to Washington State, where he had losing records his first three seasons before turning the program around with 9, 8, 9, and 11 wins, respectively, in his next four years.

Leach was hired by Mississippi State, and after a 4-7 COVID year, led the Bulldogs to a 7-6 mark in 2021 and 8-4 this past season in the tough SEC.

Leach was one of the architects of the Air Raid offense, a spread concept that helped teams compete with more talented athletes. He was known for developing quarterbacks. He was respected, well-liked, and someone who loved coaching football. At 61, he should have had a lot more years. R.I.P. to the pirate. College football will not be the same without him.

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