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Mike Leach, longtime college football coach, dead at 61


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Mike Leach, the eccentric longtime college football coach who was guiding the Mississippi State Bulldogs, has died. He was 61.

The school announced his death on Tuesday.

Leach got his head-coaching start at Texas Tech University in 2000 after serving as an assistant under Bob Stoops at Oklahoma in the late 1990s. He was also an assistant under Hal Mumme at Iowa Wesleyan University and moved with to Valdosta State and later Kentucky. He also spent time in the American Football Association of Finland as a head coach.

He brought that knowledge to the Red Raiders where he developed several quarterbacks into gunslingers – Kliff Kingsbury and Graham Harrell to name a few. He was 84-43 with Texas Tech and 5-4 in bowl games.

Three years later, Leach took the Washington State job and brought the Cougars to prominence. Again, he would put together an offense that saw Gardner Minshew and Anthony Gordon rack up more than 4,000 passing yards in their respective seasons.

He spent eight years at Washington state and led them to an 11-win season in 2018. He was 55-47 with the Cougars and 2-4 in bowl games. 

In 2020, Leach moved to Mississippi State and an SEC that was already loaded with the sport’s top coaches. He was 4-7 in the COVID-impacted season but salvaged the year with a win in the Armed Forces Bowl.

He would go 7-6 in 2021 and 8-4 in 2022. He was preparing for the ReliaQuest Bowl when the school announced his health issue.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

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