Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach was hospitalized in critical condition on Monday Announcement by school. The day before, the university said in a statement that Leach had been taken by ambulance to a medical facility in Jackson due to a “personal health issue” that occurred at his home in Starkville.
“Mississippi State University head football coach Mike Leach remains in serious condition at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson,” the university wrote in an update shared on Twitter. “Mike’s family is with him and appreciates the overwhelming expression of love and support for Coach, but also requests that his family’s privacy be respected at this time.”
Leach was admitted Sunday to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, about 125 miles from the Mississippi State campus.
UMMC spokesman Mark Rolfe confirmed in a text message to The Associated Press on Monday that Leach’s condition was listed as serious. The university said the 61-year-old coach was initially treated at Oktoberha County Hospital in Starkville.
Leach is in his third season at Mississippi State with a 19-17 record. He acknowledged a bout with pneumonia at the end of the season that was causing a persistent cough, but it was unclear whether his recent illness was related to his hospitalization.
The school said in both statements regarding Leach’s hospitalization that it would not comment further on his health status outside of the information that has been formally released.
“The university’s thoughts and prayers are with Mike and (his wife) Sharon and their families,” the university statement said.
Messages of concern and support for Leach flooded social media as college football coaches, former players and associates acknowledged his illness.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike Leach, his wife Sharon, his family and the doctors treating him,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said in a statement. “Mike’s infectious personality and passion for the game have impacted the game in many positive ways over the course of his career.”
“My thoughts are with my mentor, my colleague, and more importantly, my friend, Mike Leach,” wrote Dana Holgorsen, head coach at the University of Houston. “While I am devastated by today’s news, Mike is a fighter with an incredible spirit and I know he will continue to fight. Prayers for Sharon and their extended family.”
“Please keep Mike Leach in your prayers tonight. We are thinking of Mike, his wife Sharon and their family, friends and players.” Tweeted Brian Kelly, head coach of Louisiana State University.
“Prayers for my good friend Mike Leach. Please keep the coach and his family in your prayers.” wrote Lincoln Riley, head coach at the University of Southern California.
Leach, known for his prolific air raid offenses, is 158–107 in 21 seasons as head coach at Texas Tech, Washington State and Mississippi State.
Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett has been placed in charge of the football team by Mississippi State president Mark Keenum and interim athletic director Bracky Brett as the players prepare for an appearance in the ReliaQuest Bowl against Illinois on Jan. 2 in Tampa, Florida.