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Mike Leach, acclaimed college football coach, dead at 61

(JACKSON, MS) — UPDATE — Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach sadly died Monday night after difficulties related to a heart attack. He was 61.

MSU released a statement Tuesday on behalf of Leach’s family, saying that as a “final act of charity,” the coach participated in organ donation.

“Mike was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather,” Leach’s family said. “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 was hospitalized Sunday after reportedly collapsing in his Starkville home. Emergency paramedics used a defibrillator device to restore normal heart rate.

He was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical Center by helicopter in critical condition.

“Coach Mike Leach cast a tremendous shadow not just over Mississippi State University, but over the entire college football landscape,” MSU president Mark E. Keenum said in a statement. “His innovative ‘Air Raid’ offense changed the game. 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.”

Leach led a legendary coaching career with Mississippi State, Texas Tech and Washington State. In 2018, he was deemed the AFCA National Coach of the Year at Washington State.

He is survived by his wife Sharon and their four children: Janeen, Kimberly, Cody and Kiersten.