Football Coach Who Got His Start In Iowa Dies Suddenly
The college football world is mourning the loss of Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach. ESPN reports that Leach died Monday night from a heart condition. He was just 61 years old.
Leach suffered what was first reported as a 'personal health issue' at his home on Sunday. ESPN reports that Leach was airlifted to a hospital in Jackson, Mississippi nearly 150 miles away. Leach had told reporters that he had struggled with pneumonia after the regular season had concluded. He was at practice with the team as recently as Saturday.
Leach was in his third season coaching the Bulldogs. They have an 8-4 record on the year. Leach had a record of 19-17 at Mississippi State. ESPN reports that Leach also coached at Texas Tech from 2000 to 2009 and at Washington State from 2012 to 2019. In 2018 he was named National Coach of the Year while at Washington State. Leach had an overall record of 158-107 during his 21 years as a head coach.
Leach was known for his Air Raid offense and high-scoring teams. What many people may not know is that his coaching career began with a stint here in Iowa. In 1987, Leach began his coaching career at Cal Poly and College of the Desert, according to Wikipedia. In 1989 he even coached a football team in Finland! Then, that same year, he joined the coaching staff at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. He served as the team's offensive coordinator for three seasons. It was on that Iowa field that the Air Raid offense was born.
Coach Leach is survived by his wife Sharon, their four children, and three grandchildren.