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TCU to Honor Mike Leach with Helmet Decal in Fiesta Bowl CFP Semifinal vs. Michigan

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 30, 2022

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 19: Mississippi State Bulldogs Head Coach Mike Leach addresses the media during the SEC Football Kickoff Media Days on July 19, 2022, at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, GA.(Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

TCU will honor late Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach with decals on their helmets during the College Football Playoff semifinal against Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday.

According to ESPN's Dave Wilson, TCU head coach Sonny Dykes announced that his Horned Frogs players will have pirate flag decals on their helmets due to Leach's love for pirate history.

A few other teams have also worn decals in honor of Leach, including one of the schools at which he formerly coached in Texas Tech, which utilized the pirate flag idea as well.

Regarding the decision to honor Leach in that way, Dykes said the following:

"I think that's going to be a big part of my feelings pregame tomorrow—just the impact Mike had on my life and really college football in general. I'm sure there'll be a little bit of shoutout to Coach Leach before I take the field, just what he meant to me personally in my life.'

'I certainly wouldn't be here without his guidance or mentorship and the huge impact he had on my life."

Leach died on Dec. 12 after being hospitalized with a heart condition while in preparation for Mississippi State's ReliaQuest Bowl game against Illinois on Jan. 2.

Both Dykes and Leach were assistant coaches at Kentucky in 1997, and Dykes later served as an assistant under Leach from 2000 to 2006 when Leach was the head coach at Texas Tech.

That stint helped launch Dykes' head coaching career, as he went on to coach Louisiana Tech, California and SMU. Dykes is in the midst of his first season at TCU, and he has led them to a 12-1 record and the school's first CFP berth.

At the time of his death, Leach was in the midst of his third season as the head coach at Mississippi State and had led the Bulldogs to an 8-4 record this season.

All told, Leach went 158-107 in 21 seasons as the head coach at Texas Tech, Washington State and Mississippi State.