Fox News Flash top sports headlines for December 13
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Mississippi State is mourning the loss of its head football coach with the news Mike Leach died Monday night at the age of 61.
Leach, who was in his third season as head coach in Starkville, led the Bulldogs to a record of 8-4 in 2022, earning a spot in the ReliaQuest Bowl against Illinois.
Head coach Mike Leach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs watches his players warm up before playing the Texas A and M Aggies at Kyle Field Oct. 2, 2021, in College Station, Texas.
(Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Mississippi State plans on finishing its season against the Fighting Illini Jan. 2.
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“The players are 100% behind playing this bowl game and doing what coach Leach would expect them to do,” interim athletic director Bracky Brett told ESPN. “We all know that’s what coach Leach would want, and it’s what we should do.”
Zach Arnett, Mississippi State defensive coordinator, was placed in charge of the program following Leach’s hospitalization and will coach the team in its bowl game.
Head coach Mike Leach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs before a game against the Auburn Tigers at Davis Wade Stadium Nov. 5, 2022, in Starkville, Miss.
(Justin Ford/Getty Images)
The game will be played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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“It’s only fitting that we play this game and honor coach Leach in a stadium that has a pirate ship,” Brett said.
Illinois head coach Brett Bielema offered his condolences to Leach’s family following news of his passing.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike Leach’s family,” Bielema said in a statement, according to NBC Chicago. “Today is a sad day for college football. We lost a great coach, a great person, and one of the legendary personalities in our sport. Mike and I built a long friendship after first meeting at the Alamo Bowl in the early 2000s. We shared so many memories over the years. RIP, Mike.”
Head coach Mike Leach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs arrives at the stadium before a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium Nov. 6, 2021, in Fayetteville, Ark.
(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
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During his 21-year coaching career, Leach led his teams to 19 bowl games.
Leach had a career record of 158-107.