Mississippi State Head Football Coach Mike Leach dies at age 61

Heavy hearts across the Magnolia state today as we mourn the loss of Mississippi State Head Football Coach Mike Leach.

Coach Leach died last night at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, following complications from a heart condition. He was 61-years-old.

Leach was finishing his third season in Starkville and 21st as a head coach.

Mississippi State University President Mark Keenum says “Coach Mike Leach cast a tremendous shadow not just over Mississippi State University, but over the entire college football landscape.”

His family thanked friends and the MSU community for their outpouring of love and prayers.

Leach was able to participate in organ donation at UMMC as a final act of charity.

This afternoon, News 25 Sports Director Jeff Haeger spoke with Mississippi State offensive lineman and Gulfport High School alum J.T. Zakkak. “What better way to honor Leach than by going out there and winning our bowl game for him. And another interesting thing is we’re playing in Raymond James Stadium. It’s the only stadium in the world with a big pirate ship, and so it was like how fitting. I loved playing for him. He was a great guy and a great coach. I loved him to death and it was a pleasure to play for him, it really was. I’m glad I got to spend my career playing for him.”

Several Coast players share their thoughts following Leach’s passing. D’Iberville alum Jaden Walley telling WXXV “Coach Leach just made us better men on and off the field. We are hurt by his passing, but if you know Coach Leach, you know that he would want us to keep going forward and not look back. We will miss him dearly. He has been such an inspiration in our lives.”

Jeff Haeger will have more reaction tonight in sports.

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