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Mississippi State soccer coach Mike Leach has died at age 61

Mississippi State soccer coach Mike Leach has died at age 61

Mississippi State soccer coach Mike Leach has died at age 61

Gruff, forward-thinking and unassuming, Mike Leach was one of the vital influential soccer coaches of this or any era. His boundless curiosity and fascination with individuals, locations and issues made him well-known off the sphere, a novel character in sports activities.

Leach, who’s in his third 12 months at Mississippi State after serving to revolutionize the sport of NFL soccer out of highschool air strike crime, died Monday evening of problems from a coronary heart situation, the varsity stated Tuesday. He was 61.

Leach fell unwell Sunday at his house in Starkville, Mississippi, close to the college. He was handled at a neighborhood hospital earlier than being airlifted to the College of Mississippi Medical Heart in Jackson, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) away.

“Mike was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather. He was in a position to take part in organ donation at UMMC as a last act of charity,” the household stated in a press release issued by the state of Mississippi. “We’re supported and uplifted by the love and prayers from household, mates, Mississippi State College, hospital employees and soccer followers all over the world. Thanks for sharing within the pleasure of our expensive husband and father’s life.”

In 21 seasons as the pinnacle coach at Texas Tech, Washington State and Mississippi State, Leach went 158-107. Mississippi State was his third head teaching cease on an uncommon profession path.

Leach battled pneumonia late this season, coughing uncontrollably at occasions throughout press conferences, however gave the impression to be bettering, in response to those that labored with him.

Information of his severe sickness broke out in faculty soccer prior to now few days, stunning many who knew him. Hope and pray for a restoration

“It is laborious to place into phrases the impression Mike Leach had on the gamers he coached, the sport of soccer and me personally,” TCU coach Sonny Dykes posted on Twitter. “He was a novel character and unbiased thinker and an amazing good friend. I had no different affect in my life besides my father.”

In Starkville, below grey skies, the video board at Davis-Wade Stadium Shown an image of a smiling leech and the message: “Within the type of love.” To honor the coach, black ribbons had been tied on the stadium gates and flowers had been positioned there.

“Mike’s sharp wit and candor make him one of many nation’s true teaching legends,” Mississippi State President Mark Keenum stated. “His passing brings nice unhappiness to our college, to the Southeastern Convention and to all who liked faculty soccer. I’ll miss Mike’s deep curiosity, his integrity and his wide-open method to excellence in all issues.”

at Martin Stadium in Pullman, WashingtonAn identical tribute was on the videoboard above a snow-covered area.

Leach was identified for his pass-happy offense, wide-ranging pursuits — he wrote a e book concerning the Native American chief Geronimo, had a ardour for pirates and taught a category on the Rise up — and rambunctious, off-the-cuff information conferences.

An interview with Leach was probably to enter politics, wedding ceremony planning or relationships Fantasy mascot fights As was sticking to soccer. He thought-about Donald Trump a good friend earlier than the billionaire businessman ran for president after which campaigned for him in 2016.

He traveled everywhere in the world and most admired those that stepped past their skills.

“One of many largest issues I liked about Michael Jordan, he took loads of flak for the sport of baseball. I completely admired that,” Leach advised The Related Press final spring. “I imply, you may be useless in 100 years. You have mastered basketball and you are going to attempt to grasp one thing else, and stick your neck out and you are not afraid to do it, and know that lots of people shall be watching you whenever you do it. I assumed it was nice.”

Leach’s groups had been constantly victorious In programs where success did not come easily. His quarterbacks put up big passing stats, working a comparatively easy offense known as the Air Raid that he did not invent however actually mastered.

Six of the 20 finest passing seasons in main faculty soccer historical past had been by quarterbacks who performed for Leach, together with 4 of the highest six.

Calling performs from a folded piece of paper smaller than an index card, Leach turned passers comparable to B.J. Simons (448.7 yards per sport), Graham Harrell (438.8), Connor Halliday (430.3) and Anthony Gordon (429.2) into record-setters, and Heisman Trophy contender.

“It’s important to make selections and restrict what you are going to educate and what you are going to do. That is the laborious half,” Leach advised AP about Air Raid’s financial playbook.

Leach additionally had an inclination to nod with authority and was not shy about criticizing gamers he felt weren’t taking part in laborious sufficient.

A mix of those traits value Leach his first head teaching job. He went 84-43 with the Crimson Raiders, by no means having a dropping season at a Large 12 faculty, and reached No. 2 within the nation in 2008, going 11-2 and matching a faculty document for wins.

He was fired by Texas Tech in December 2009 for allegedly mistreating a participant, Adam James — the son of former ESPN announcer and NFL participant Craig James — who was affected by a concussion.

He refused to apologize for the battle and finally sued Texas Tech for wrongful termination. The college was protected by state regulation, however Leech He never stopped trying to fight that case. He additionally filed a lawsuit towards ESPN and Craig James that was later dismissed.

Whereas out of teaching for 2 seasons, Leach and his spouse, Sharon, returned to their house in Key West, Florida, the place he rode his bike round city and drank at bars.

He returned to teaching within the Pac-12, however did not go away that beloved house of Keys.

Leach landed at Washington State in 2012. After a three-loss season, the Cougars quickly regarded like his Texas Tech group. In 2018, Washington State went 11-2, set a faculty document for wins, and was ranked No. 7 within the nation.

Leach moved to the SEC in 2020, Taking over at Mississippi State. After years of questioning whether or not Leach’s unfold offense might succeed within the nation’s most proficient soccer convention, the Bulldogs Set an SEC record for passing yards In its first sport towards defending nationwide champion LSU.

Born on March 9, 1961, in tiny Susanville, California, Leach grew up in even smaller Cody, Wyoming. Raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he attended BYU and acquired a regulation diploma from Pepperdine.

Leach did not play faculty soccer — rugby was his sport — however seeing the revolutionary passing assault utilized by then-BYU coach Lavelle Edwards at a time when most groups had been nonetheless run-heavy sparked his curiosity in drawing his sport.

In 1987, he started teaching faculty at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and spent a 12 months teaching soccer in Finland, however it was at Iowa Wesleyan the place he discovered his magic. Air Raid was invented by head coach Hal Mumme whereas teaching highschool in Texas. At Iowa Wesleyan, with Leach as offensive coordinator, it started to take maintain and Fundamentally change the way football is played.

Leach adopted Mumme to Valdosta State after which to the SEC at Kentucky, breaking passing information alongside the way in which. He spent one season as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator in 1999 earlier than getting his personal program at Texas Tech.

From there, the Air Raid unfold like wildfire and have become the principle option to run offenses within the Large 12 and past.

Leach’s intensive teaching tree contains USC’s Lincoln Riley, Dykes, Houston’s Dana Holgorsen and the Arizona Cardinals’ Kliff Kingsbury.

“Coach – you can be missed, however your impression on so many will stay on – thanks for each second. You modified my life and so many extra,” Riley posted on Twitter.

This previous season, Leach’s Mississippi State group completed 8-4, together with a 24-22 Thanksgiving evening victory over Mississippi within the Egg Bowl. It was his final sport.

Leach is survived by his spouse and 4 youngsters, Janine, Kimberly, Cody and Kiersten.

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Observe Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and hear at http://www.apppodcasts.com

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AP Faculty Soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Join AP’s faculty soccer publication: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2





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