Mike Leach, the head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs football team, has been hospitalized and is in critical condition, according to major news outlets. Off the record, we are hearing reports that Leach suffered a major heart attack, has not regained consciousness since the event occurred, and is not expected to survive. While Leach has often been the target of serious derision and scorn here, we are saddened by this and have nothing but empathy and sympathy for his family and the MSU community.
No, Leach is not a national treasure, and no, we don’t even think he’s a good football coach. However, we have respect for what he’s been able to accomplish at Texas Tech, Washington State, and Mississippi State with such a limited playbook and talent pool. We didn’t expect this season’s Bulldogs to do anything, but somehow, the team posted an 8-4 record against the No. 21 SOS in the country, pulling off upsets against very poorly coached teams from Texas A&M, Arkansas, Auburn, and Ole Miss.
(How did this happen? Good question. His gimmicky offense is just 36th in the country for scoring points [32.7 per game], and the opponents choked hard: TAMU started the season ranked No. 6 but finished 5-7 overall, proving you can be pretty dumb and still make a lot of money—looking at you, Jimbo Fisher. Likewise, Lane Kiffin ran Ole Miss into the ground after being ranked No. 7 in late October, losing four of its last five games including the Egg Bowl to MSU … and still got a contract extension. Say what?!)
Alas, a ranked Mississippi State squad is headed to the ReliaQuest Bowl—whatever the fuck that is (actually, it’s the bowl formerly known as the Outback Bowl)—and probably will do so with very heavy hearts, despite some very vocal criticism of its head coach. We wish the Bulldogs the best of good fortune in that game against Illinois, and we’re uncomfortable reminding readers that when Leach left WSU to go to Starkville, MS, we didn’t think he would last longer than three seasons.
Obviously, we never imagined it would end this way, and this is truly heartbreaking as Leach is only 61 years old and has a loving family. We must never forget these realities, and as someone at Mississippi State has phrased it today, “Life is fleeting. Tell those you love how much you love them. Forgive, forgive, forgive.”
(Updated December 13: Leach passed away on Monday night, which was confirmed by major news outlets on Tuesday morning.)