Former Georgia, Miami Football Coach Mark Richt Announces He Has Parkinson's Disease

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJuly 2, 2021

Miami head coach Mark Richt watches during the first half of an NCAA college football game against FIU, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

Former Georgia and Miami football head coach and current ACC Network football analyst Mark Richt announced on Thursday that he has Parkinson's disease.

Mark Richt @MarkRicht

<a href="https://t.co/omdtG3HrcY">pic.twitter.com/omdtG3HrcY</a>

Per the Parkinson's Foundation website, the disease is defined as "a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing ('dopaminergic') neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra."

Possible symptoms include tremors, bradykinesia, limb rigidity, and gait and balance problems. Parkinson's is not a fatal disease but can cause serious complications.

Richt, 61, led the Bulldogs from 2001-15 before returning to his alma mater, Miami, from 2016-18. He went 171-64 over his coaching career and won 10 bowl games.

Richt is a two-time SEC Coach of the Year and one-time ACC Coach of the Year who also won the Walter Camp Coach of the Year Award in 2017. His teams finished in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll seven times.

He retired after the 2018 season and joined ACC Network in 2019. On October 21 of that year, Richt announced that he had suffered a heart attack earlier that morning but was "doing fine."

Well-wishes poured in on Twitter following the news about Richt, with some examples below from various media members:

Maria Martin @Ria_Martin

I’m honestly sick reading this. Praying for Mark and Katharyn Richt, their children and grandchildren. They are strong in their faith and their marriage. I’m heartbroken for their family, but I know they’re strong. Please pray and send your well wishes. <a href="https://t.co/CViQdrKJaT">https://t.co/CViQdrKJaT</a>

Jeff Schultz @JeffSchultzATL

Oh, man. Prayers up for a great man and all his family. <a href="https://t.co/KrQE7dw6O7">https://t.co/KrQE7dw6O7</a>

William McFadden @willmcfadden

This is so sad, but Coach Richt is taking it the same way he does everything: With a positive attitude. Here with you coach. Prayers up. <a href="https://t.co/OcfvSeAKEU">https://t.co/OcfvSeAKEU</a>

Anna Maria Tarullo @tarullotweets

Coach Richt is one of the most beautiful examples of faith out there. Even one dark days his attitude, trust, and peace is unmatched

Prior to his Georgia stint, Richt was a backup quarterback at Miami from 1978-82. He was a graduate assistant at Florida State from 1985-88 before moving onto East Carolina as its offensive coordinator in 1989.

Richt then headed back to FSU to work as its quarterbacks coach (1990-93) before adding offensive coordinator duties from 1994-2000. He coached two Heisman Trophy winners (quarterbacks Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke) and was on the staff of a pair of national champions in 1993 and 1999.

Richt has a book, Make the Call: Game-Day Wisdom for Life's Defining Moments, is set to be released on August 31.