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Mark Richt Is Leaning on Faith Amidst Parkinson's: 'Earth, It's Temporal. Heaven, It's Forever'

Michael Foust | Contributor | Thursday, July 22, 2021
Mark Richt Is Leaning on Faith Amidst Parkinson's: 'Earth, It's Temporal. Heaven, It's Forever'

Mark Richt Is Leaning on Faith Amidst Parkinson's: 'Earth, It's Temporal. Heaven, It's Forever'

Television analyst and former football coach Mark Richt is sharing more details about his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease, saying, in retrospect, he likely had symptoms years ago while he was still on the sidelines.

Richt, the former head coach of the University of Georgia and the University of Miami, retired from coaching following the 2018 season.

He currently works as a college football analyst for ESPN and the ACC Network.

"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 told ESPN, chuckling.

Richt stepped down as Georgia's coach in 2015 and soon took the same job at Miami.

"I should have taken a year off, and within 48 hours, I get the job, and I'm going to be the playcaller and all that stuff," Richt said. "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."

Rich said his Christian faith brings him hope.

"We're here on Earth, it's temporal. Heaven, it's forever, Heaven is everlasting," Richt said. "And the truth of the matter is, we're all going to live somewhere forever. ... It's just a matter of where we're going to go. So that's why I'm so thankful to coach."

Parkinson's is a disorder of the central nervous system.

"I can do almost anything, I just move slower," Richt said. "The thing about Parkinson's that I'm learning is when you get symptoms of slower movement, you get tremors sometimes. I've had a very slight tremor in the left hand. Your muscles get rigid if you don't move and keep stretching.

"For me, to walk, I have to really focus on walking. I could be in a chair. And if I say in my brain, get up and go, I usually get up and go. What you are doing is training your brain to handle this new responsibility."

Richt coached at Georgia for 15 years and led the Bulldogs to the SEC Championship game three times, winning two titles. He then coached his alma mater, Miami, for three years, guiding the Hurricanes to the Orange Bowl in the 2017 season.


Mark Richt, Diagnosed with Parkinson's, Remains Hopeful: It's Momentary 'Compared to the Future Glory in Heaven'

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Mike Comer/Stringer

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.