Tributes pour in for MSU head football coach who died at 61

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach has died, the university has confirmed.

MSU confirmed his death in a news release.

Michael Charles “Mike Leach” died Monday night, Dec. 12, at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. following complications from a heart condition.

He was 61.

In a statement, the Leach 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.”

The head coach had been in critical condition at the hospital following a personal health issue, the university said Monday.

Leach was named Mississippi State’s 34th head football coach on Jan. 9, 2020.

He and his wife Sharon shared four children.

MORE: MSU head coach Mike Leach in critical condition, university says

He was nicknamed “The Pirate,” because he loved pirates and read about them, and studied them when he wasn’t coaching football.

FOX13′s reporter Tom Dees, traveled to Starkville to see how Coach Leach is being remembered.

The dedicated maroon and white trickling by on this cold and drizzly day in Starkville to pay their respects to coach Mike Leach.

”When you look at the Jumbotron and you see his picture and he is gone, when he won an Egg Bowl not even a month ago, it is sad.” Reed Cable said.

Gate A at Davis Wade Stadium was covered in black bows, and a long table was set up to place flowers for fans.

Coach Leach’s picture on the Jumbotron.

Reed Cable, a Mississippi State student from Olive Branch, came by to pay his respects.

So did student Sam Schuh of Nashville.

He said he’ll always remember the coach known as the Pirate, whom he’s followed closely.

“Coaching football, and then as a side hobby he loved history, he had a law degree, he never played football, he played rugby at BYU. he was just an incredible guy,” Schuh said.

Mississippi State Vice President of Student Affairs Regina Hyatt said coaches and players are grieving.

She said they’re getting tremendous support from across the country following Coach Leach’s death.

”Our student-athletes, of course, are hurting, and they lost their mentor, and there are a lot of people that care very deeply about them both here and on the campus and the community,” Hyatt said.

Many fans said they believe Leach was so well-liked because he would talk to anyone about anything at any time.

”The thing about Mike Leach, he never acted like he was too good to talk to anybody, be it opposing coaches or event management. Nobody was beneath Mike Leach,” Steve Robertson said.