Statement on the death of MSU student-athlete

Published 3:25 pm Wednesday, October 19, 2022

STARKVILLE — Mississippi State University was deeply saddened to learn of the death this morning of freshman student-athlete Samuel Westmoreland, 19, of Tupelo, Mississippi. Westmoreland, a Tupelo High School graduate, was an offensive lineman for the MSU Bulldog football team and an industrial technology major.


“One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned while leading this great university is that the tragic loss of one of our students diminishes all of our students—and all of us at Mississippi State feel the impact of Sam Westmoreland’s death,” said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. “My prayers are with Sam’s family and friends, with his MSU teammates and coaches, and with the Tupelo community during this most difficult time.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox


MSU Head Football Coach Mike Leach said: “The Mississippi State Athletics Family is heartbroken by the sudden death of Sam Westmoreland.  Sam was a beloved son, brother and teammate, and a tremendous young man with a limitless future. He will always be remembered and deeply missed by everyone who knew and loved him. The entire MSU Family mourns as our thoughts and prayers go out to the Westmoreland family. Our highest priority is the support of the Westmoreland family and our student-athletes during this troubling time.”


MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said: “We are heartbroken by the sudden loss of Sam Westmoreland. Mississippi State is a family, and we are all mourning during this trying time. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Westmoreland family and everyone who knew and loved Sam.”


The university is working cooperatively with the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Office, the Oktibbeha County Coroner’s Office, the MSU Division of Student Affairs, and the MSU Athletics Department to determine the facts of this incident and will have no further comment until that assessment is completed.


Sessions are available with Student Counseling Services. Open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.  For more information, visit or call 662-325-2091.

The My Student Support Program (My SSP) app is now available. Users receive confidential, short-term counseling support at no cost via live text-based chat, voice and video sessions. Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and in multiple languages.

The My SSP app and website also offer self-directed resources, including videos, articles, podcasts and infographics; anonymous mental health assessments for depression, general anxiety and alcohol and drug use; and free access to the LIFT app for virtual fitness sessions. Visit for more information and links to download the app from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

For any interventions for personal and academic support, please contact the Dean of Students Office at (662) 325-3611 or

For more information, access or