Football Community Mourns the Loss of Innovator Head Coach Mike Leach
College football lost one of its most revolutionary figures with the passing of Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach. This news saddened many in the football community, most notably those who had the chance to experience working with Leach in some way over the course of his coaching career than span almost 40 years.
Leach, who died at just 61-years-old from a heart condition, was a pioneer of the renowned “Air Raid” offense, an offensive strategy he brought to Texas Tech, Washington State and finally Mississippi State as a head coach, leaving an imprint on players and coaches he worked with along the way. This includes current West Virginia offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and former WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen – now the head coach at Houston.
Below includes statements from relevant figures who knew Leach about his passing.
Mike Leach was more than an incredible, innovative, impactful, successful, popular football coach. He was all that as a husband to Sharon and a father to Janeen, Kimberly, Cody & Kiersten! Brilliant, thoughtful, kind man who taught me so much in so many different ways. RIP Coach! pic.twitter.com/blaNBbhLfi
— Dana Holgorsen (@Holgorsendana) December 13, 2022
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) December 13, 2022
Today is a sad day in the world of college football. Mike Leach was an innovative football mind, who kept us on our toes. I always enjoyed facing off with him over the years.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike's family and friends during this difficult time. 🙏💙🙏
— Mack Brown (@CoachMackBrown) December 13, 2022
I was fortunate to call a number of Apple Cups involving @Coach_Leach. Looking back, our production calls consisted of 5 minutes total of football. The rest was filled w/ life & marriage advice. I believe we discussed the best breed of dog to have as a pet at one point. #1of1
— Brady Quinn (@Brady_Quinn) December 13, 2022
RIP Mike my friend, you’ll always be cherished by Sooner Nation! Love and peace to Sharon and your children. pic.twitter.com/BunOTeLuTC
— Bob Stoops (@CoachBobStoops) December 13, 2022
“My Thoughts & Prayers are with the Leach Family! Thank you for your Impact on the game and the Lives you coached! You will be missed, Rest Easy Pirate.“ pic.twitter.com/SkzhIGgTqh
— Dak Prescott (@dak) December 13, 2022
The world and college football are a better place because of Mike Leach. We lost a legend and I’m going to miss my friend very much. I cannot believe this has happened. Devastating. I will cherish the many talks and laughs. He will be dearly missed. God Bless Mike’s family 🙏🙏🙏
— Sean Salisbury (@SeanUnfiltered) December 13, 2022
I never played under coach Mike Leach but I respected his philosophy towards the game growing up… RIP COACH you was apart of the birth of how the game is played today 🙏🏿
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) December 13, 2022
So sad to hear of Mike Leach’s passing. Praying for his family and loved ones.
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) December 13, 2022
Our broadcasting team had the privilege of calling the last game of Coach Mike Leach’s distinguished career. The spirit and character his team played with that night embodied what I came to think of him as a coach and leader. My condolences to all who loved him. RIP coach. 🙏🏾
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) December 13, 2022
Got to have a few beers with Mike Leach one evening several years ago and have wanted to spend more time with him ever since. Such a cool cool dude. RIP coach.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) December 13, 2022
WVSN reached out to Harrell to offer condolences on the passing of his mentor. Harrell has not yet released a public comment on the death of Leach.