Nov 24, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Ole Miss Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin, left, and Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach shake hands after the game at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the rivalry between the two schools, Ole Miss plans to honor Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach. Leach passed away a few weeks ago due to a massive heart attack, he was 61.

The Rebels, who play in the Texas Bowl against Texas Tech Wednesday night, will wear a decal with a Mississippi State cowbell with his name on the back of their helmets.

Head coach Lane Kiffin attended Leach’s memorial service on December 20th and recently talked about his first time meeting Leach during his press conference leading up to the Texas Bowl.

Kiffin said he received a late-night phone call from Leach while he was still the head coach of USC.

“It was in season,” Kiffin said. “We were at USC, playing really well. Tech was having a down year. He just said, ‘Hey, your dad gave me your number,’ then he started saying, ‘What do you guys practice like on Wednesdays?’ He just stayed on the phone for like 45 minutes. He just wanted to talk and learn.”

Leach and Kiffin always had a great deal of respect and admiration for each other. Kiffin said he especially appreciated the fact that Leach never changed who he was for anybody.

“I appreciate, too….that he was going to get up here and just be who he was. He wasn’t going to change for a camera or a person. I just really appreciate that part about him.”

{Clarion Ledger, George Faust}

About Stacey Mickles

Stacey is a 1995 graduate of the University of Alabama who has previously worked for other publications such as Sportskeeda and Saturday Down South.