Big 12 News

Mike Leach Dies at 61 Years Old

Mike Leach

Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach died on Monday night. He was 61 years old.

Leach was hospitalized on Sunday having suffered what was called at the time a “personal health issue” at his home. The University has confirmed this news in a statement released on Sunday.


On Monday, it was reported by the Clarion Ledger on Monday that Leach suffered a heart attack.

In a statement, the Leach family said: “Mike was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather. 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.”  

Leach has been at Mississippi State since before the 2020 college football season. Prior to that he spent eight seasons at Washington State, which was preceded by his time at Texas Tech from 2000 to 2009, where he led the Red Raiders to a Big 12 South division title in 2008. In 36 games since joining the Bulldogs, he was 19-17 and led the team to a bowl game in each of his first three seasons.

Over his 21 years as a head coach, Leach compiled a 158-107 (.596) record, guided his squads to 19 bowl games, produced seven seasons of at least nine victories, captured two conference division titles, became the winningest coach in Texas Tech history and set school records for bowl appearances at both Texas Tech (10) and Washington State (6). During 10 of those 21 seasons, Leach’s passing attack led the FBS – six at Texas Tech and four at Washington State.


Leach built arguably the greatest coaching tree in college football, giving countless coaches their start in the profession. His historic tree includes former and current head coaches Lincoln Riley, Dave Aranda, Sonny Cumbie, Dana Holgorsen, Seth Littrell, Art Briles, Ken Wilson, Neal Brown, Josh Heupel, Eric Morris, Sonny Dykes, Kliff Kingsbury, Ruffin McNeill and assistant coaches Wes Welker, Bill Bedenbaugh, Robert Anae, Alex Grinch, Brandon Jones, and more.

Mississippi State football is set to play in the ReliaQuest Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on New Year’s Day in Tampa, Florida. Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett is in charge of the program on an interim basis.

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