Skip to main content
#pounditFriday, January 27, 2023

Mike Leach

Ole Miss adds Mike Leach tribute for bowl game

Sep 10, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss and Mississippi State may be rivals, but that is not stopping the Rebels from paying tribute to Mike Leach during Wednesday’s bowl game.

Ole Miss posted a picture of a helmet decal the team will be wearing in the Texas Bowl against Texas Tech. The decal reads “Mike,” with the letter “I” represented with Leach’s favored pirate symbol.

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin has made no secret of his admiration for Leach, so the decision to add a small tribute is not a huge surprise despite the schools’ rivalry.

Leach died roughly two weeks ago due to complications related to a heart condition. The longtime coach has received plenty of tributes from others during bowl games as well.

Dana Holgorsen pays tribute to Mike Leach during bowl game

Sep 25, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen looks on from the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Navy Midshipmen at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston coach Dana Holgorsen had a cool way of paying tribute to Mike Leach during Friday’s Independence Bowl.

Holgorsen could be seen on the sideline wearing a copy of the signature black “State” hoodie that Leach often wore during his time at Mississippi State. Holgorsen could be seen wearing the hoodie before and during the game.

Holgorsen was not the only one involved in the tribute. Two of his offensive assistants, Brandon Jones and Shannon Dawson, also wore the hoodies.

Holgorsen is a Leach disciple. Both served on Hal Mumme’s coaching staff at Valdosta State, and Holgorsen went on to spend seven years on Leach’s staff at Texas Tech.

Leach could be seen wearing the hoodie throughout much of the 2022 season, and it became something of a trademark. It is a pretty cool way for Holgorsen to pay tribute to one of his mentors.

Mississippi State makes decision on Mike Leach successor

Sep 10, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State has acted quickly to appoint a new head coach after the death of Mike Leach.

The Bulldogs are expected to promote defensive coordinator Zach Arnett to head coach, according to Ross Dellenger of SI Now. Arnett had been named the interim head coach after Leach was initially hospitalized on Saturday.

Arnett has no previous head coaching experience, but has served as Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator since Leach took the job in 2020. He had previously served as a defensive coordinator for San Diego State, and had previously been targeted by major programs such as Oregon and LSU for a defensive coordinator role.

Leach died on Monday, two days after suffering a reported massive heart attack. Arnett will take charge of the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 2 against Illinois, which the Bulldogs have confirmed they will play in after Leach’s death.

Mike Leach had strategic reason for his legendary media comments?

Oct 2, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach argues a call while playing against the Texas A&M Aggies in the third quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Leach was one of the most unique personalities in sports history, and there have been many reminders of that since the college football legend died on Tuesday. What many people did not know, however, is that there may have been a legitimate strategy behind some of Leach’s unique exchanges with the media.

In addition to being one of the best coaches in the country, Leach was also one of the smartest. He attended BYU in the 1980s and later got his law degree from Pepperdine. Leach was known for engaging with reporters on just about any topic, including but not limited to long-winded wedding advice and a detailed rundown of what he likes on his Thanksgiving plate.

Leach seemed to genuinely enjoy those conversations, but Andy Staples of The Athletic says the banter served multiple purposes. While Staples says leach was “interested in everything,” the late coach was also more than willing to discuss topics other than football because he felt it gave his team an advantage.

“But he was always more interested in football than he let on, and often the soliloquies about weddings or cargo shorts or live animal mascots were calculated moves to keep anyone from asking him to reveal actual football information that might put his team at a disadvantage,” Staples wrote.

Most people would never have thought of it that way, but it makes sense. Think about Bill Belichick. The future Hall of Fame coach often gets hammered with questions about injuries and roster decisions, and he almost always takes the Fifth. If he were more open to questions about Halloween candy and mascots fighting one another, perhaps there would be less time for the more important questions.

Leach, who was 61, died from complications related to a heart condition. We have seen a number of touching tributes to him.

Lane Kiffin had classy message about death of rival Mike Leach

Oct 15, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin walks off the field during a timeout during the first quarter of the game against the Auburn Tigers at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Many people were crushed on Tuesday to learn of the death of Mike Leach. Among those heartbroken by the news was Lane Kiffin.

Though Kiffin coached at rival school Ole Miss, he considered Leach a friend and had great fondness for the Mississippi State coach. Part of that is because they coached at other schools previously and only were Egg Bowl rivals beginning in 2020. But that’s also because they both were offensive-focused coaches who loved the passing game and get a kick out of being big personalities.

Here is the statement Kiffin shared regarding Leach’s death at the age of 61.

“I truly loved Coach Leach and every minute I shared with him. I have been able to work with several of his former players and coaches, and they have told me so many amazing stories about the impact he had on their lives. Going back to our years together in the Pac-12, I have always felt tremendous respect and admiration for Coach, his unique personality and his innovative mind, and I can’t imagine college football without him,” Kiffin wrote in his statement.

“I’m grateful to be part of his final win, hug him and watch him walk off like the winner that he is.

“I know God is welcoming the pirate home now.”

That is a moving statement from Coach Kiffin. His line about being part of Coach Leach’s last win and seeing him “walk off like the winner that he is” was particularly nice.

Ole Miss lost the big rivalry game, but they have gone 2-1 in the Egg Bowl under Kiffin. Losing that game may not be accepted well by Rebels fans, but it’s nice that that rivalry win was the way Leach went out.

And just to make you smile, here is a cute video clip of Leach teasing Kiffin.

Mike Leach reportedly suffered massive heart attack

Oct 2, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach argues a call while playing against the Texas A&M Aggies in the third quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Leach was hospitalized on Sunday after he reportedly suffered a massive heart attack.

Mississippi State first issued a statement revealing that Leach had a “personal health issue” at his home and was rushed to the hospital. On Monday, Ross Reily of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger was told by sources that Leach collapsed at his home in Starkville during a massive heart attack. He did not receive medical attention for 10-15 minutes. When EMTs arrived at Leach’s home, they used a defibrillator machine to restore normal heartbeat.

Leach was transported to nearby Oktibbeha County Hospital. Once stable, he was taken by helicopter to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

Leach may have also suffered seizures and there is fear of brain damage, according to Reily. The situation is considered “dire.”

Mississippi State confirmed on Monday that Leach is in critical condition.

The 61-year-old Leach had battled pneumonia and the flu in recent weeks and had a terrible cough. The cough was something people had noticed for about a month. Leach was said to be in great spirits at a holiday party on Saturday night.

Mississippi State has named defensive coordinator Zach Arnett their interim head coach. The Bulldogs are set to face Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 2.

Leach has been the head coach at Mississippi State for three seasons. He had the Bulldogs 8-4 this season, with a win over rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.

Leach first became a head coach at Texas Tech in 2000. He has succeeded at all his stops — Texas Tech, Washington State and Mississippi State. He is 158-107 in his head coach career.

Report: Mike Leach health situation is ‘very serious’

Sep 10, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Leach was hospitalized on Sunday with a health issue that apparently is “very serious.”

Mississippi State issued a statement to say that Leach had a “personal health issue” at his home on Sunday and was taken by ambulance to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.

247 Sports Mississippi State reporter Steve Robertson said that the situation with Leach is “very, very serious.” He added that Leach “has a long road ahead of him.”

Sports Talk Mississippi co-host Brian Hadad shared that Leach was at his Christmas party the night before and in great spirits.

In a podcast, Hadad and his co-host noted that Leach had struggled with a few health issues this season, including pneumonia when he had the flu.

Leach had an awful cough during a press conference in early November.

The persistent cough was something many people noticed for a month or so.

On his podcast, Hadad and his co-host said that Mississippi State was preparing that this could be a long-term issue, at least for the next month.

“This is a serious, serious situation for him to be transferred to Jackson,” they said.

“This is real life and death stuff. … I have a friend of mine who’s a cardiologist at UMMC. I could probably reach out to him, I’m not going to.”

Mississippi State has already named defensive coordinator Zach Arnett their interim head coach.

Leach, 61, has been the head coach at Mississippi State for three seasons. He had the Bulldogs 8-4 this season, with a win over rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.

Leach first became a head coach at Texas Tech in 2000. He has succeeded at all his stops — Texas Tech, Washington State and Mississippi State. He is 158-107 in his head coach career.

Mike Leach hospitalized with unspecified medical issue

Oct 2, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach argues a call while playing against the Texas A&M Aggies in the third quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach was hospitalized Sunday with an unspecified medical issue, the school announced.

In a statement, Mississippi State said Leach had a “personal health issue” at home on Sunday and was taken by ambulance to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett has been placed in charge of the team on an interim basis as preparations continue for the ReliaQuest Bowl.

The university did not issue any further details, but offered “thoughts and prayers” to Leach, his wife Sharon, and their family.

Leach is fresh off an 8-4 season with Mississippi State and is 158-107 in his head coaching career. The 61-year-old is widely renowned for his air raid offense and his hilarious sideline interviews.

Mike Leach offers detailed rundown of his Thanksgiving plate

Oct 2, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach argues a call while playing against the Texas A&M Aggies in the third quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

It has become something of a weekly tradition to get a bit of real world wisdom from Mississippi State coach Mike Leach after games. On Saturday, it was a bit about what his Thanksgiving would look like, at least in an ideal world.

Leach chatted about food after Mississippi State’s 56-7 blowout win over East Tennessee State. The coach revealed he is a big gravy guy and has some strong takes about pies.

“I always make the gravy, and I do make great gravy. I’m not a big cook guy, haven’t been, but I’ve made the gravy for decades,” Leach revealed. “I always get white meat, a little stuffing, not too much, lots of mashed potatoes, gravy over everything. Hopefully they have greens — they generally don’t. Corn or green beans, never sweet potatoes, and I like cream pies better than any of this pumpkin apple stuff.”

Leach will have to modify his Thanksgiving plans, as his Bulldogs team will be facing Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl Thursday night. Maybe someone can fix a plate like this in his honor.

Leach’s lack of a filter and willingness to answer any question, no matter how important, makes him a great interview. He’ll even dispense wedding advice if that’s what you’re in need of.

Reason Mike Leach was folding chairs on Mississippi State sideline revealed

Oct 2, 2021; College Station, Texas, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach argues a call while playing against the Texas A&M Aggies in the third quarter at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Leach was spotted folding some chairs on Mississippi State’s sideline during his team’s 39-33 win over Auburn on Saturday. He wasn’t doing it as some sort of stadium maintenance effort.

No, Leach was folding the chairs because he didn’t think some of his offensive players deserved to sit down. Leach pulled the move after meeting with his offense following an interception.

Leach has been picking on his wide receivers in particular recently. A few weeks ago, he joked that they would lose their arms if they didn’t start using their hands more.

Leach operates a pass-heavy offense. Quarterback Will Rogers went 42/59 for 357 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception. The team blew a 24-6 halftime lead and needed a late field goal to tie the game and send it to overtime, where they prevailed.

It’s no wonder Leach was unhappy and didn’t feel some of his offensive players hadn’t earned their seat.