By Adam Brown
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin met with the media on Tuesday as the Rebels prepare for their bowl game against Texas Tech in the Tax ACT Texas Bowl on December 28.
Kiffin talked about the loss of Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach, who died on Monday night at the University of Mississippi Medical Center after a hospitalization.
“A tragic loss,” Kiffin said. “Someone who was very close and an awesome person. I was thinking that no matter when you met Mike Leach, you remembered meeting him. He left an impact on people.”
Kiffin added that just a few of weeks he hugged Leach and watched him walk off the field as a winner after the Egg Bowl. “Would have never thought that would be his last game,” he said.
Kiffin and Leach both arrived in the state at the same time and both head coaches liked each other from day one.
“People were on us a little bit for not hating each other,” Kiffin said. “It is just a reminder that you can be very competitive, have passion and rivalries in life and sports, but be respectful and love people.”
Prior to games against Leach, Kiffin always looked forward to talking to him.
“You don’t always look forward to every coach’s meeting before games,” Kiffin said. “I always did [look forward to] him. He would always be amazing, and I would have to say ok I got to go now, coach. He was going to keep talking and it was always unique.
“Every conversation I would always say to myself, or I would come back to a coach that played for him, and say somehow we started over here and I have no idea how we got over here in the conversation.”