Former WSU coach Mike Leach has died
Former WSU football coach Mike Leach died Monday in Mississippi after reportedly suffering a heart attack.
Leach was rushed to a hospital Dec. 11 after suffering a serious medical issue. Some sources report that he experienced a heart attack. Leach was in critical condition at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. He died on Dec. 12. He was 61.
In a statement, Leach's family said:
“Mike was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather. He was able to participate in organ donation at UMMC as a final act of charity. 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.”
Michael Charles Leach was born in Susanville, Calif., and grew up in Cody, Wyoming. He played football in high school, but was unable to continue into college due to an ankle injury. He played rugby instead. After college, he began his coaching career with a job at Cal Poly in San Luis Obisbo, Calif. He coached for a range of colleges, and also for a brief stint in Finland.
His profile was raised significantly when he was hired as head coach for Texas Tech in 2000. He was fired from that job in 2009.
Leach was head coach for Washington State University from 2012–19. Under his leadership, the university's football team recorded the third most wins in its history. He was AFCA national coach of the year in 2018.
While at WSU, Leach was known for stirring controversy off of the field, such as the time he tweeted a fake video of President Barack Obama in 2018. The tweet prompted concerns among alumnus, fans, and donors. The tweet was deleted. Leach later admitted the "video was incomplete," but still argued that the video's points deserved discussion. He was also known to have friction with the media, once calling a Spokesman Review columnist a "sanctimonious troll."
In 2020, he went to coach for Mississippi State University.
Leach is survived by his wife Sharon and four children, Janeen, Kimberly, Cody, and Kiersten.