Mississippi State football head coach Mike Leach died at the age of 61 Monday night following complications from a heart condition, the school announced Tuesday morning.

“Mike was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather,” the Leach family said in a statement released by the school. “He was able to participate in organ donation at (University of Mississippi Medical Center) 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.”  

Leach, a two-time national coach of the year and the mastermind behind the “Air Raid” offense, coached since the late 1980s and as a head coach at the Power Five level over 21 seasons.

He spent the past three seasons at Mississippi State and had an overall record of 158-107 while also coaching at Texas Tech (2000-2009) and Washington State (2012-2019). 

Leach, a graduate of BYU who played for the school’s rugby team, grew up in Cody, Wyoming.

He was known for his larger-than-life personality, in addition to his coaching success.

Leach and his wife Sharon had four children: Janeen, Kimberly, Cody and Kiersten.

Action Network’s Brett McMurphy reported that Mississippi State plans to play in the ReliaQuest Bowl against Illinois on Jan. 2, 2023.

The game will be played at Raymond James Stadium, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ stadium that includes a replica pirate ship. Leach’s love of pirates was well-known.

What people are saying about Mike Leach

“Coach Mike Leach cast a tremendous shadow not just over Mississippi State University, but over the entire college football landscape. His innovative “Air Raid” offense changed the game,” Mississippi State president Mark E. Keenum said in a statement. “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. I will miss Mike’s profound curiosity, his honesty, and his wide-open approach to pursuing excellence in all things.  

“Mike’s death also underscores the fragility and uncertainty of our lives. Three weeks ago, Mike and I were together in the locker room celebrating a hard-fought victory in Oxford. Mike Leach truly embraced life and lived in such a manner as to leave no regrets. That’s a worthy legacy. May God bless the Leach family during these days and hours. The prayers of the Bulldog family go with them.”