Former Iowa Wesleyan Assistant Coach Mike Leach Dies at 61

College Football- Mike Leach died from a heart attack that he suffered last night. Leach was at the tail end of his third season as head coach for Mississippi State University having led them to an 8-4 record this year (19-17 overall). The school announced his death this morning:

“Mike was a giving and attentive husband, father and grandfather,” the Leach family said in a statement. “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.”

Mike Leach was a football coach with a law degree who wanted to be a pirate. Leach was eclectic to put it simply. Coach Hal Mumme and Leach joined forces in 1989 at Iowa Wesleyan University and created a new offense that featured a high volume of passing called the “Air Raid Offense.” The Tigers went 24-11 during the time while setting nearly every passing record in a game, season, and career. Mike Hampton, the Assistant Athletic Director of Internal Operation and Special Projects and the Head Softball Coach at Iowa Wesleyan, was a part-time Softball Coach at the same time Leach was coaching at Iowa Wesleyan and remarked, “His humor, his dry sense of humor, and his story telling was remarkable.”

Leach would become a head coach at Texas Tech University from 2000-2009 compiling 84 wins over his ten years and became the winningest coach in school history. He then took the job at Washington State and stayed there until 2019 amassing another 55 wins. Leach finished with an 158-107 overall record.

In case you weren’t sold on the account of his eclecticism, Leach once gave a spirited answer about Bigfoot and aliens during a press conference. Here is what he said about his thoughts on aliens.

“To me, it’s always been naïve. On Earth, they say, ‘We’re the only ones.’ Really? Why? Have you been to the other planets? Have you checked out the other planets? I mean, to me it makes more sense that if it happened here, it happened somewhere else than it does that it only happened here.”

Coach Mike Leach was a beloved character everywhere he went, always delivering entertaining quotes.