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Mike Leach, Lane Kiffin teaming up in Mississippi goes as you’d expect

Mississippi State coach Mike Leach and Ole Miss counterpart Lane Kiffin met Thursday with government leaders to push for the state to remove the Confederate emblem from its flag.

Their meeting, which included other college coaches, came as the nation has challenged symbols and pushed for social justice reform.

But the two new football coaches of rival teams had their lighthearted moments during the process.

There was Leach, face mask pulled below his nose, tugging on Kiffin’s mask and snapping it over his face.

Even though they’re new to their respective jobs, the two know one another and are long-time college football staples.

The social media-savvy Kiffin left Florida Atlantic for the Rebels’ job in December. Leach, known for his odd interests, including a love of pirates, departed Washington State to take the Bulldogs’ job a month later.

College football Twitter loved their interactions, and just how odd it was they and other college athletics leaders were gathering for such an important cause.

The meeting happened for an important cause.

Fifty-two coaches and athletic department officials gathered at the Mississippi state capitol building in Jackson on Thursday.

It came after Mississippi State’s All-SEC running back Kylin Hill recently took to Twitter to make his feelings known about the current Mississippi state flag, which has the Confederate battle emblem in the top left corner.

“Either change the flag or I won’t be representing this State anymore. … & I meant that .. I’m tired,” Hill tweeted this week.

Multiple other players — and even rapper Ice Cube — sent out messages supporting Hill’s stance. On Thursday, Leach explained why he believed the flag should leave the Confederate emblem in the past.

“The purpose of a state flag is to unify the state. Right now, this flag doesn’t do that,” Leach said via The Clarion-Ledger. “To me it’s really quite simple. Why do you have a state flag? To unify all the people in the state. If your flag doesn’t do that, change it.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.