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Mike Leach dies at 61 after heart issues

Mike Leach looking ahead

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 head coach Mike Leach has died.

Leach’s family shared the news through a Mississippi State University spokesperson on Tuesday morning.

“Coach Mike Leach passed away last night from complications related to a heart condition. He was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather,” a statement from the Leach family read. “He was able to participate in organ donation at UMMC as a final act of charity. We are 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.”

Leach’s family confirmed that Leach had been suffering from a heart condition. A report on Monday said Leach had a massive heart attack at his home the day before. John Canzano, who had a personal relationship with Leach from covering Washington State and the Pac-12, said Leach had been “suffering from heart failure for a while” and had fluid around his heart and lungs.

Leach was in his third season as the head coach at Mississippi State. He had the Bulldogs 8-4 this year, with a win over rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl.

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

Beyond his coaching prowess, Leach was also well known for his quirky sense of humor. He had countless entertaining exchanges with the media over the years and gained popularity from them.

Mississippi State is scheduled to face Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 2. Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett has been named interim head coach.

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