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  • Jaron Ruth

Mississippi State's Pirate, Mike Leach



The college football world came to a stop as word began to circulate about Mike Leach being taken to the hospital, with what was being described as "a personal health issue" according to Mississippi State's official twitter feed.

As Sunday progressed, mystery and uncertainty surrounded the situation as fans began to wonder what was truly going on. Eyes glued to our favorite Mississippi State beat writer's feed, and Gene's 247Sports boards, we waited for news. Rumors started to trickle out about what had happened, but we got official word that Coach Leach was in critical condition at University of Mississippi Medical Center.

As Monday came, we got no new updates, just that things did not seem to be improving and to keep praying. In mid-afternoon we were updated that care for Coach Leach was being passed over to hospice care and that there would be no further updates until the family was ready to make an announcement. Early Tuesday morning we lost our coach.

Michael Charles Leach, March 9, 1961-Decemeber 12, 2022


Coach Leach became a head coach for the Texas Tech Red Raiders back in 2000, there he led the program to an 84-43 record through 2009. While in Lubbock Coach Leach developed quite the character image nationally and the strength of his 2008 Red Raiders team, led by Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree, put Texas Tech in the national spotlight. The eleven win 2008 season tied Texas Tech's single season win record total, and it was the first time they had finished tied atop the Big XII Conference.

After his time in Lubbock, it was time to move further west and conquer the Pac-12. Washington St was the next stop, while there he led the Cougars to a 55-47 record and a 2018 season tied with Washington for top of the division in the Pac-12 North.

In 2020 Coach Leach decided getting further South was the way to go and landed in Starkville, MS with the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Shortly after taking over the program the COVID pandemic struck all but shutting down athletics on every level. Overcoming the challenges of a distraught recruiting off season and a new head coaching job, Coach Leach landed some quality talent that could develop into what could lead the Bulldogs to an SEC Championship. Through three seasons in the SEC, Coach Leach was 19-17 and led the Bulldogs to a season that exceeded many people's expectations. He secured a bowl appearance for the 13th year in a row for the Bulldogs and had one of the best recruiting classes in Mississippi State history coming in. On top of that a large group of players that were expected to leave the program decided to "Run It Back" for one more season in hopes to land the SEC Championship Title.


Head Coach Mike Leach Achievements:

16 Bowl Game Appearances, 8-8

10 Seasons with 8 wins or more

6 Seasons with a team in the Top 25

2008 Big XII Coach of the Year

2015 Pac-12 Coach of the Year

2018 Pac-12 Coach of the Year

All-Time Winningest Coach in Texas Tech History


Mike Leach Coaching Tree:

Dave Aranda

Art Briles

Neal Brown

Jeff Choate

Sonny Cumbie

Sonny Dykes

Josh Heupel

Dana Holgerson

Kliff Kingsbury

Seth Litrell

Greg McMackin

Ruffin McNeill

Eric Morris

Lincoln Riley

Ken Wilson



My thoughts and prayers go out to Sharon, Mike's Wife, his children and grandchildren. Thoughts and prayers also go out to the Mississippi State coaching staff and players, former Texas Tech and Washington State coaches and players.


Rest in Peace, Coach. Swing your sword!


Jaron Ruth, @strssdgamerdad

Follow @SSN_MissSt for more Mississippi State Athletics updates and @SSN_SEC for updates around the conference.

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