Former UGA coach Mark Richt says Parkinson’s symptoms may date back to time in Athens

ATHENS, Ga. — News of former Georgia head football coach Mark Richt’s Parkinson’s diagnosis at the beginning of July stunned not only Dawg fans, but the college football world.

The 61-year old Richt left coaching in 2018 after retiring from his job at the University of Miami and has spent most of the past few college football seasons working for the ACC Network.

Just a couple of weeks after going public with his battle, Richt spoke with former players and coaches at the ACC’s Media Days event in Charlotte.

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Richt also opened up to a handful of reporters about his battle, the toll it is taking and that the diagnosis may have come long after he began suffering the effects of Parkinson’s.

Richt told ESPN’s Andrea Adelson he believes the symptoms started showing before his departure from Georgia after the 2015 season.

“Even going back as far as Georgia, just my energy seemed depleted. You know, working 15 years at Georgia could do that, too, so you didn’t really know what it was,” Richt said.

“But even in Miami, I decided I was going to call plays again. I should have taken a year off, and within 48 hours, I get the job and I’m going to be the play caller and all that stuff. But I can recall just not being able to spit it out as quick. And I was thinking, well, maybe it’s slightly new terminology, and looking back, it probably wasn’t.”

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The Parkinson’s diagnosis was not Richt’s first health battle. In October of 2019, he suffered what he considered a mild heart attack.

According to his Twitter feed, Richt spent four days in the hospital and did eventually return to work.

Richt says he and his wife have recently moved back to Athens to be closer to family. He mentioned during the ESPN interview that his father also has Parkinson’s.

The ever-friendly former coach has also written his first book, “Make the Call”. It goes on sale in August.

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