Mike Leach tribute: ReliaQuest Bowl honoring late Mississippi State HC at Raymond James Stadium
Mike Leach’s legacy will be thrust into the spotlight once again on Monday with Mississippi State facing Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl. Both teams will play with heavy hearts following Leach’s tragic passing after the 2022 season.
Both Illinois and Mississippi State will honor Leach in various ways during the game. The Illini recently unveiled a special “Mike” helmet decal with the “I” replaced by a cowbell featuring a pirate logo. Cowbells are a staple of Mississippi State home games while Leach was known as “the Pirate” throughout his coaching career.
Heading into Monday’s game, the ReliaQuest Bowl is also honoring Leach with a special tribute. The game will be played at Raymond James Stadium — home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — and the stadium features a gigantic pirate ship as a part of the venue.
The bowl game is honoring Leach by placing a flower arrangement memorial for the head coach on the pirate ship, along with painting a “Mike” logo on the field. It is a special way to recognize Leach in Tampa:
Such a very cool & 1st class gesture by @ReliaQuestBowl to honor Mike Leach w/flower arrangement on the pirate ship & name on field at today’s game b/w @HailStateFB & @IlliniFootball #RIPMikeLeach pic.twitter.com/CTOYMUSNaJ
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) January 2, 2023
— Bret Beherns (@WCIA3Bret) January 2, 2023
Kickoff for Monday’s game is set for 12 pm ET on ESPN2.