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Coach Mike Leach remembered for revolutionizing football - and his love of Key West

Obit Leach Football
Eric Gay
Texas Tech coach Mike Leach waits as a play is reviewed during the first quarter of their NCAA college football game against Texas in Austin, Texas, Sept. 19, 2009.

Mike Leach, the eccentric Mississippi State University head coach, was known for a lot of things other than his highly effective “air raid” passing offense.

His unfiltered, stream-of-consciousness conversations with sideline reporters on topics ranging from candy corn to Big Foot. His intellect. Not only was he a best-selling author of two books, but he also earned both a master’s degree and law degree.

Leach, who died Monday night from complications of a heart-related illness, was also known for his love of Key West. Leach had such an association with Key West that messages of praise for him and his affection for the Southernmost City trended on Twitter. Many of the tweets came from national sports writers who covered his career.

“Mike Leach loved Key West. He once applied to be the head coach at Key West High School in the late ‘90s before going on to change college football. He owned a home down there and was often spotted by friends on the island,” Orlando Sentinel sports reporter Jason Beede wrote on Twitter Tuesday. According to Monroe County Property Appraiser’s records, Leach and his wife Sharon own a house on Eaton Street.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.

Gwen Filosa
Captain Tony’s Saloon in Key West paid their respects to Mike Leach, Mississippi State University’s head football coach, who died Dec. 12 at 61. Leach called Key West his favorite spot. He was so beloved on the island that this famous watering hole honored him with own barstool. No one was sitting in it on Dec. 13, 2022. Bar staff placed it on an empty stage with a candle and a drink as a vigil.