Leach was airlifted Sunday to University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, where he died following a heart condition. The school said he’d suffered “a personal health issue” at his home.
“Mike was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather,” Leach’s family said in a statement through the school. “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.”
University President Mark E. Keenum said Leach’s “Air Raid” offense “changed the game.”
“Mike’s keen intellect and unvarnished candor make him one of the nation’s true coaching legends,” Keenum said.
Leach compiled a 19-17 record in three seasons at Mississippi State. He guided the Bulldogs to a victory over rival Mississippi this season, and an invite to the ReliaQuest Bowl against Illinois on Jan. 2.
Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett will take over preparation for the game, the school said.
Leach had pneumonia late in the season. It was unclear whether that was a factor in his death.
Leach was 158-107 in 21 seasons as a head coach at Texas Tech, Washington State and Mississippi State.