Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach died of heart complications on Monday night at the age of 61. He had recently finished his third year as head coach in Starkville, and was set to lead the Bulldogs to the ReliaQuest Bowl on January 2 after an 8-4 season.
Leach’s defensive coordinator, Zach Arnett, was named the interim head coach when Leach was hospitalized. While we can’t know for sure, we can expect that Arnett will remain the interim through bowl season, should the Bulldogs go through with playing the ReliaQuest Bowl.
After that, Mississippi State may begin to conduct a head coaching search, but with national signing day coming up on February 1 and much of the coaching carousel dust already settled, it wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that Arnett will carry the interim title into next season.
The issue is complicated by MSU’s current vacancy at the athletic director position. AD John Cohen left for Auburn in November, and they have not yet filled the opening, so the university administration will likely be making these decisions for the time being rather than leaving it up to the athletic department.