Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach was taken to a hospital Sunday after experiencing a “personal health issue” at his home earlier in the day, the university announced.
The school provided no further details on the condition of Leach, 61, who is in his third season with the Bulldogs. The school said that after a discussion between university president Mark Keenum and interim athletic director Bracky Brett, they decided to place defensive coordinator Zach Arnett in charge of the team until Leach is able to return.
The university said it would have no other comment other than to say that “the thoughts and prayers of the university are with Mike and [wife] Sharon and their family.”
The No. 22 Bulldogs, who went 8-4 this season, are preparing to play Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 2 in Tampa. It is the second straight winning season in Starkville, Miss., for Leach, who went 7-6 last year and is 19-17 overall with the Bulldogs. In 21 seasons, including previous stops at Washington State and Texas Tech, Leach has a record of 158-107, with an 18th bowl appearance set for next month.
Known for his eccentric personality, Leach also has made a major mark on college football as the architect of the record-setting “Air Raid” offense. He helped Will Rogers, a junior quarterback for Mississippi State, break in just 28 games an SEC record for career completions that previously took Georgia’s Aaron Murray 52 games to set. Rogers also holds Mississippi State career records with 10,428 passing yards and 81 passing touchdowns.
Leach was at a Bulldogs practice Saturday, per reports. According to ESPN, he suffered from pneumonia this season but, more recently, was feeling better.
Mississippi State said Sunday that Leach was transported by ambulance to University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, approximately 125 miles southwest of the Bulldogs’ campus.