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Mississippi State University Head Football Coach Mike Leach Dead at 61

Mississippi State University is mourning the loss of a beloved member: Michael Charles “Mike” Leach.

The head football coach passed away at a hospital in Jackson, Miss., on Dec. 12 “following complications from a heart condition,” the school confirmed. He was 61. 

Shortly after, Leach’s family honored his legacy in a moving message. “Mike was a giving was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather,” the family’s Dec. 13 statement read. “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.”

MSU’s president Mark E. Keenum also paid tribute to Leach on Dec. 13. “Coach Mike Leach cast a tremendous shadow not just over Mississippi State University, but over the entire college football landscape,” Keenum said. “His innovative ‘Air Raid’ offense changed the game. Mike’s keen intellect and unvarnished candor made him one of the nation’s true coaching legends.”

“His passing brings great sadness to our university, to the Southeastern Conference, and to all who loved college football,” he continued. “I will miss Mike’s profound curiosity, his honesty, and his wide-open approach to pursuing excellence in all things.”

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