Mississippi State coach Mike Leach was hospitalized in critical condition on Monday, the day after what the university called “a personal health issue” at his Starkville home forced him to be airlifted to a medical facility in Jackson.
Leach was admitted Sunday to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, about 200 miles from the Mississippi State campus.
UMMC spokesman Marc Rolph said in a text message to AP on Monday that Leach was listed in critical condition. Leach, 61, was first treated at Oktibbeha County Hospital in Starkville, the university said.
“Mike’s family stands with him and appreciates the overwhelming expressions of love and support for Coach, but also ask that their family’s privacy be respected at this time,” the school said Monday.
Leach is in his third season at Mississippi State, going 19-17. He admitted to having had a bout of pneumonia at the end of the season which caused a persistent cough, but it was unclear whether his recent illness was related to his hospitalization.
Messages of concern and support for Leach have poured in on social media from former players, colleagues and college football rivals.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike Leach, his wife Sharon, their family and the doctors treating him,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said in a statement. “Mike’s infectious personality and passion for the game has positively impacted the sport in so many positive ways over his career.”
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 was tasked with the football team by Mississippi State President Mark Keenum and acting athletic director Bracky Brett as he prepares for a ReliaQuest Bowl appearance against Illinois on January 2 in Tampa, Florida.