Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach was rushed to the hospital Sunday after experiencing “personal health issues” at home earlier in the day, the university announced.
The school did not provide further details about the status of Leach, 61, who is in his third season with the Bulldogs. The school said it decided to put defensive coordinator Zach Arnett in charge of the team until Leach was able to return, following discussions between college president Mark Keenum and interim athletic director Brakey Brett.
The university said in addition to saying “the thoughts and prayers of the university are with Mike and [wife] Sharon and their families. “
The 22 Bulldogs, who are 8-4 this season, are preparing to take on Illinois State in the ReliaQuest bowl game on Jan. 17. 2 in Tampa. It was Rich’s second straight winning season in Starkville, Mississippi, after going 7-6 last year and going 19-17 overall with the Bulldogs. In 21 seasons, including previous stops at Washington State and Texas Tech, Leach is 158-107 and will make his 18th appearance next month.
Known for his eccentric personality, Leach also made a significant mark on college football as the architect of the record-setting “Air Raid” offense. He helped Mississippi State junior quarterback Will Rodgers break the SEC career completion record in just 28 games, a record previously required by Georgia State’s Aaron Murray at 52 games. Rodgers also holds the Mississippi State career records for passing yards of 10,428 and passing touchdowns of 81.
Leach reportedly attended practice with the Bulldogs on Saturday. According to ESPN, he has suffered from pneumonia this season, but has been feeling better recently.
The state of Mississippi said Sunday that Leach was transported by ambulance to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, about 125 miles southwest of the Bulldogs campus.