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Mike Leach Memorial Decals Continue to Pile Up

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Arkansas announced last night that they will wear a memorial decal for former NCAA coach Mike Leach, who died on Dec. 12, for today’s Liberty Bowl.

This makes the Razorbacks at least the ninth team to memorialize Leach for their bowl games. The other eight I’m aware of are as follows:

Bowling Green



Miami (Ohio)


Ole Miss

Texas Tech

Washington State

Am I missing anyone?

Leach’s most recent team, Mississippi State, plays their bowl game on Jan. 2, so we’ll presumably be hearing something about their memorial decal or patch shortly.

Update: I’ve just learned of three additional schools that have worn Leach memorial decals:

Oregon State

South Alabama

Western Kentucky

So that brings the total number of Leach-tributing schools to at least 12.

(My thanks to our own Jamie Rathjen for alerting me to an error in the original text of this entry, regarding the date of Mississippi State’s bowl game, and also to Colin Lowther and Patrick Lasseter for letting me know about the three additional teams.)


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You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paying subscriber, which I hope you’ll consider doing! Thanks.

Comments (14)

    Mississippi State doesn’t play until Monday, January 2nd. Probably just haven’t revealed anything yet.

    Definitely nice to see Leach’s former schools (Wazzu and Texas Tech) honoring him.

    Did Mike Leach have a connection with all of those schools, or was he that influential in college football? I plead a bit of ignorance here, as I’m only a casual fan.

    Were other famous coaches memorialized by multiple schools after they passed (i.e. Bear Bryant, Bo Schembechler, et. al.)?

    I was wondering the same thing. He was the head coach at Washington St. and Texas Tech, but the only other connection I see here is BYU (where he played as a student athlete). It’s interesting to see these other schools pay tribute but not Oklahoma and Kentucky, where he actually coached as an assistant. Although they haven’t played their bowl games yet either, so maybe something will be forthcoming there too.

    Per Wikipedia, Leach has a pretty significant coaching tree. I’d take Mike Leach and his way of carrying himself over Nick Saban any day..

    Assistant coaches under Leach who became college head coaches:

    Dave Aranda: Baylor (2020–present)
    Zach Arnett: Mississippi State (2022–present)
    Art Briles: Houston (2003–2007), Baylor (2008–2015)
    Jeff Choate: Montana State (2016–2020)
    Sonny Dykes: Louisiana Tech (2010–2012), California (2013–2016), SMU (2018–2021), TCU (2022–present)
    Dana Holgorsen: West Virginia (2011–2018), Houston (2019–present)
    Seth Littrell: North Texas (2016–2022)
    Greg McMackin: Hawaii (2008–2011)
    Ruffin McNeill: East Carolina (2010–2015)
    Lincoln Riley: Oklahoma (2017–2021), USC (2022–present)
    Ken Wilson: Nevada (2022–present)

    Players under Leach who became college or NFL head coaches:
    Neal Brown: Troy (2015–2018), West Virginia (2019–present)
    Sonny Cumbie: Louisiana Tech (2022–present)
    Josh Heupel: UCF (2018–2020), Tennessee (2021–present)
    Kliff Kingsbury: Texas Tech (2013–2018), Arizona Cardinals (2019–present)
    Eric Morris: Incarnate Word (2018–2021), North Texas (2023-present)

    Both my step-daughter and her husband graduated from Mississippi State a few years ago and live just outside of Starkville (a.k.a. Starkvegas). They said Mike Leach was well loved in the three years he was at MSU. Everyone that he met, he wouldn’t hesitate to stop and strike up a conversation. There was a hot wing place in town that he was fond of. COVID about made the owner almost have to close. But, Coach helped her out and allowed her to keep her doors open. My friend’s son was Gardner Minshew’s center in JUCO where they won a National Championship. Gardner said Leach was on a different level mentally. Just loved to learn about everything. He brought a LOT to the game of college football. Not just coaching, but was a class act to everyone he met. Don’t let the Adam James drama fool you…….

    Couldn’t have proclaimed it better. Don’t let the “JAMES” Story @ TT mis guide You!. I’m dear Friend’s w/the Father of Mike. His Father is a Class Act like no other! P U R E Salt of the Earth People…

    A HARD CLASS ACT to Follow… MIKE is and was that Type of a Man…

    First of all, great recap of these memorials. Leach will be missed.

    Second, it looks like Western Kentucky is wearing the decal in the photo you have in the article, not South Alabama. BUT, the photo at the link below appears to show South Alabama wearing one, too:


    So up to 12 so far?

    Its getting even worse with the Leach memorial stickers…just saw one on my Roomba. Who knew Mike coached vacuums too.

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