Mike Leach hospitalized in critical condition


Mississippi State coach Mike Leach, 61, was transported from his home to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson on Sunday following a "personal health issue." He was deemed Monday to be in "critical condition," according to MSU.

"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," the school said in a Monday statement. 

Leach was last seen publicly Saturday both leading Mississippi State's preparation for the ReliaQuest Bowl and at an evening holiday party. Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett has been elevated to interim coach of the Bulldogs as Leach remains hospitalized. 

Acclaimed as the architect of the innovative and record-setting "Air Raid" offense alongside Hal Mumme, Leach has won multiple national and conference coach of the year honors with a pair of Power Five division titles during his 21-year head coaching career.

His coaching tree of former assistants and players spans the entire college football landscape. It includes USC coach Lincoln Riley and Houston coach Dana Holgorsen, as well as current Arizona Cardinals coach and former Red Raiders quarterback Kliff Kingsbury.

Many of coaches -- including others not from Leach's coaching tree -- sent their well-wishes to Leach and his family through Twitter. 

"Prayers for my good friend Mike Leach. Please keep Coach and his family in your prayers," wrote Riley.

"My thoughts are with my mentor, my colleague and, more importantly, my friend, Mike Leach. While I am devastated by today's news, I know Mike is a fighter with an incredible spirit and I know he will continue to battle. Prayers to Sharon and their extended family," said Holgorsen.

No. 22 Mississippi State finished the season 8-4 with a win over rival Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl on Thanksgiving night. That earned the team a berth in the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 2 in Tampa against Illinois.

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