Mississippi State Will Play In Bowl Game After Passing Of Mike Leach

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Following the tragic loss of head coach Mike Leach, the Mississippi State football team had to make a decision on whether or not to play in its bowl game. This notion of not playing was quickly shot down Tuesday, with the players ready to rally.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to play Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl on Jan. 2, and according to people inside the athletic department the game will be played.

“The players are 100 percent behind playing this bowl game and doing what Coach Leach would expect them to do,” Interim AD Bracky Brett told Chris Low.

Mike Leach wouldn’t have it any other way, he would want to see his team compete on the field. The Bulldogs will be playing at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, which has a permanent Pirate Ship in the end zone.

I can’t imagine a better stadium or atmosphere to remember the “Pirate” – which Leach was commonly called.

Head coach Mike Leach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and head coach Lane Kiffin of the Mississippi Rebels. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Leach was known as one of the most colorful coaches in college football. He led Mississippi State to an 8-4 record this season. Mississippi State was 19-17 in his three years in Starkville.

What Lane Kiffin Had To Say About Mike Leach

The Bulldogs finished the season by defeating Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl, a game that will now be remembered forever.

Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin released a statement on the passing of Leach.

“I truly loved Coach Leach and every minute I shared with him. I have been able to work with several of his former players and coaches, and they have told me so many amazing stories about the impact he had on their lives. Going back to our years together in the Pac-12, I have always felt tremendous respect and admiration for Coach, his unique personality and his innovative mind, and I can’t imagine college football without him.

“I’m grateful to be part of his final win, hug him and watch him walk off like the winner that he is,” Kiffin added. “I know God is welcoming the Pirate home now.”

There will be a memorial for Mike Leach, which the school is putting together. Those details will be released over the next week.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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  1. It really sucks knowing we’ll never get another of his riffs from a media day or a press conference, or an on-field interview. Or any of his symbolic antics, like the chucking of the chairs he did during this season when his offense was playing poorly. I had no idea he wrote a book until today, planning on reading it (about Geronimo) as I have a history appreciation as he did and have a significant gap in my knowledge when it comes to older American history.

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