Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach was hospitalized in critical condition on Monday, according to an announcement by the school. One day earlier, the university said in a statement that Leach was 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 critical condition at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson,” the university wrote in an update shared to Twitter. “Mike’s family is with him and appreciates the overwhelming expressions of love and support for the coach, but also requests that their 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 Marc Rolph confirmed in a text message to the Associated Press on Monday that Leach’s condition was listed as critical. The 61-year-old coach was initially treated at Oktibbeha County Hospital in Starkville, the university said.
Leach is in his third season at Mississippi State, with a 19-17 record. He acknowledged a bout with pneumonia late in 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 have no further comments on his health status outside of the information it has formally released.
“The thoughts and prayers of the university are with Mike and (his wife) Sharon and their family,” the university’s statement read.
Messages of concern and support for Leach flooded social media as coaches, former players and colleagues across college football acknowledged his illness.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike Leach, his wife Sharon, their 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 sport in so many positive ways during his career.”
“My thoughts are with my mentor, my colleague, and more importantly, my friend, Mike Leach,” wrote Dana Holgorsen, the head coach at 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 battle. Prayers to Sharon and their extended family.”
“Please keep Mike Leach in your prayers tonight. We are thinking about Mike, his wife Sharon, and all of his family, friends and players,” tweeted Brian Kelly, the head coach at Louisiana State University.
“Prayers for my good friend Mike Leach. Please keep Coach and his family in your prayers,” wrote Lincoln Riley, the head coach at the University of Southern California.
Leach, known for his prolific Air Raid offenses, is 158-107 in 21 seasons as a 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.