On Monday, Mississippi State takes on Illinois in the ReliaQuest Bowl, in the first game for the Bulldogs since the unexpected passing of head coach Mike Leach. Throughout bowl season, teams have paid tribute to the coach, such as Chip Kelly wearing a pirate flag on his visor during UCLA’s bowl game, Baylor lining up in a formation at the start of their game against Mississippi and taking a delay of game penalty, and other SEC teams wearing helmet stickers in his honor.
But when the Bulldogs take the field on Monday, they too will honor their beloved head coach.
Mississippi State will be wearing special helmets, featuring both a pirate flag, and Leach’s initials:
Leach’s love of pirates was well-known. He used a pirate sword as a piece of inspiration during his time at Texas Tech, and even titled his 2011 autobiography “Swing Your Sword.”
Another way that Leach will be honored during this game? The ReliaQuest Bowl is being played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
The only stadium that features a pirate ship in the stands.
The Bulldogs placed a memorial on the ship Monday morning:
A fitting captain on deck ☠️ pic.twitter.com/VUMMCMjEF7— Mississippi State Football (@HailStateFB) January 2, 2023
It might get a little dusty before kickoff of this one.