The death of Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach is reverberating throughout the sports world. As the architect of the revolutionary "Air Raid" offensive scheme and a successful coach in three Power Five conferences during the 21st century, Leach left an indelible legacy on college football that lives on though an expansive coaching tree.

But that legacy encompasses far more than what he accomplished on the field at Texas Tech, Washington State and Mississippi State. Leach's trailblazing offense came from a special mind that often strayed from the Xs and Os strategy that helped him amass a 158-107 career record.

Leach's uniquely wired personality made him one of the most quotable college football coaches of all-time. From rants about wildlife and aliens to discussions on the merits of marriage, he often eschewed coachspeak in favor of stand-up comedy -- even if his long-winded rants weren't intended to be funny.

Beyond the wins, losses, controversies and triumphs that mark the careers of most coaches, Leach gave us so much more. As the sports world remembers the life and legacy of a college football legend, let's look back on some of the most memorable moments from a coach who held a law degree, wrote books and taught college classes.

These are just a few of the highlights that Leach and his larger-than-life personality left us to remember.

Mike Leach's memorable moments

Profiled by Scott Pelley on "60 Minutes" after Texas Tech's breakthrough 2008 season, Leach explained the "pirate" mantra that came to define the Red Raiders and Leach throughout his coaching career. "I brought this sword in, this pirate sword replica, and talked about how are you going to swing your sword?" Leach told Pelley. That phrase, "Swing Your Sword" later became the title to Leach's autobiography, and pirates remained a frequent talking point of Leach's even after he left Texas Tech as seen in his cameo appearance on "Friday Night Lights."

When Texas Tech needed some help in the kicking game during the 2008 season, Leach turned to the winner of a halftime promotional contest from the student body who went on to be the Red Raiders' primary kicker for three seasons. At Mississippi State in 2021, the Bulldogs were struggling on special teams and Leach turned back to the student body for help, putting out a notice that the team would hold open kicking tryouts. He said about 40 students expressed interest. 

Leach developed an affinity for Key West, Florida. At one point when he was between jobs, he applied to be a high school football coach in Key West. Though he didn't get the job, he returned to Key West often during his life. In fact, it's where he signed his contract to become Mississippi State's coach. 

Leach recounted his childhood in his autobiography and told one particularly odd tale of how he dealt with a neighborhood dog that repeatedly urinated on his belongings. As Leach wrote, he decided to return the favor by drawing the dog in with a piece of meat and then peeing on the dog. Leach regarded the act as a victory since the dog stopped bothering him afterward. He had a lifelong interest in wildlife and always seemed to enjoy talking about animals.

Leach's interest in animals extended into more theoretical elements of non-human life such as Big Foot and aliens. Covering Leach was never dull.

Leach's creative mind also produced some memorable breakdowns of how various mascots would fare against each other.

At Washington State, Leach once came up with a peculiar way of naming a team captain.

At Mississippi State, Leach never seemed to let the pressure of coaching in the SEC get to him. In fact, he once took time during an onfield postgame interview to let the world know his thoughts on candy corn and Halloween candy.

He also frequently stiff-armed opportunities to criticize officials, whom he thought should be paid better, deftly avoiding potential fines that might come with such comments.

During the 2022 season, one of Leach's most memorable press conferences centered around the way his players used their hands.

Though Leach did not have the chance to say goodbye, he shared his thoughts in a past interview on how he'd like to be remembered once he's gone. It was vintage Leach.