It’s OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, MS — After being airlifted from his Starkville home to a Jackson hospital on Sunday due to what the university described as a “personal health issue,” Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach remained in critical condition on Monday.
Approximately 125 miles (200 kilometers) from the Mississippi State campus, Leach was admitted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center on Sunday.
In a text message sent Monday to the Associated Press, UMMC spokesman Marc Rolph confirmed Leach’s critical condition. Oktibbeha County Hospital in Starkville is where Leach, now 61 years old, was first taken for medical attention, according to the university.
The school said in a statement on Monday, “Mike’s family is with him and appreciates the overwhelming expressions of love and support for the coach, but also requests that their family’s privacy be respected at this time.”
Now in his third year at Mississippi State, Leach has led the Bulldogs to a 19-17 record. A late-season bout of pneumonia was the source of his persistent cough, which he did admit to, but it was not clear whether his current illness was related to his hospitalization or not.
The college football community, including former players, colleagues, and rivals, all took to social media to express their concern and support for Leach.
Nick Saban, coach of the Alabama football team, released a statement saying, “Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike Leach, his wife Sharon, their family, and the doctors treating him.” Throughout his career, “Mike’s infectious personality and passion for the game have impacted the sport in so many positive ways.”
In 21 seasons as a head coach at Texas Tech, Washington State, and Mississippi State, Leach has a record of 158-107, thanks in large part to the success of his trademark Air Raid offenses.
Mississippi State president Mark Keenum and interim athletic director Bracky Brett have given defensive coordinator Zach Arnett head coach duties as the football team gets ready to play Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl on January 2 in Tampa, Florida.
The Louisiana Coaching Staff Remembers Legendary Quarterback Mike Leach
Sonny Cumbie, head coach at Louisiana Tech, posted a video to social media expressing his concern for Mike Leach while he was hospitalized.
In 2004, while playing for Leach at Texas Tech, Sonny made a video in which he said: “When I think back on my time as a walk-on at Texas Tech, I remember the first time I met him.
He met me on a Sunday afternoon in the parking lot, despite being the head coach at a “big ball school,” and gave me a tour.
Next, Sonny said: “Knowing what I do about coaching today, I find that unfathomable.
“That’s probably the thing that sticks with me the most — all the opportunities and believe that we have now, and the positions that we’re in with college football and even professional football, really originate because Mike Leach believed in us even when others didn’t,” one player said.
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Friday Night Lights Cameo Remembered
Fans of Mississippi State University’s football team are banding together to show their support for coach Mike Leach, who is in critical condition, and many of them are reflecting on the coach’s cameo appearance in the popular television series Friday Night Lights.
The coach, played by Leach, makes a brief appearance in the pilot as a gas station patron who approaches one of the show’s protagonists to ask for directions.
The protagonist, who is also a coach, receives the assessment, “You’ve lost your inner pirate.”
Next, he says “Locate your inner buccaneer. Many occurrences are destined to take place. There’s a chance you’re the luckiest man alive who has no idea it, but you won’t be able to appreciate it until you rediscover your inner pirate.”
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Medical Updates On Mike Leach
Sadly, Leach passed away from a heart attack early on Sunday morning at his Starkville home, as reported by Ross Reily of the Mississippi Clarion Ledger. It was unfortunate that it took the emergency services around 15 minutes to get to him.
Leach’s heart rhythm was restored by a defibrillator machine used by paramedics after they arrived on the scene. After being brought under control at Oktibbeha County Hospital, he was flown to the University of Mississippi Medical Center via helicopter.
The possibility of brain damage and the possibility of seizures during Leach’s medical situation has been raised by multiple sources. Leach’s condition has not improved, and the situation is still very serious.
A late-season bout of pneumonia was the source of his persistent cough, which he did admit to, but it was not clear whether his current illness was related to his hospitalization or not. The college football community, including former players, colleagues, and rivals, all took to social media to express their concern and support for Leach.