Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Former coach Mark Richt reveals he has Parkinson's disease, focuses on 'future glory of Heaven'

Former Georgia and Miami head coach Mark Richt, who’s currently an analyst with the ACC Network, is keeping his head high and his eyes focused on Heaven as he battles Parkinson’s disease.

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Richt, who spent 15 years coaching the Bulldogs and another three years coaching the Hurricanes, announced his diagnosis on Thursday. He stated that he only considers this to be a temporary trouble that pales in comparison to eternity, and he emphasized that he would continue working as an analyst.

“Truthfully I look at this as a momentary light affliction compared to the future glory of heaven,” Ritch said on Twitter. “Thank you Jesus for promising us a future blessing of a glorified body that has no sin or disease. In the meantime I am going to enjoy the blessings that I do have. See you on the ACCNETWORK!”

The Mayo Clinic describes Parkinson’s disease as “a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement.” The common symptoms include tremors, stiffness and a decrease in movement. Due to the nature of Parkinson’s, the effects are not immediate but appear over time.

While at the helm of the Bulldogs, Richt led Georgia to two SEC championships in 2002 and 2005, and left with a record of 145-51. He also won SEC Coach of the Year twice. Following his release from Georgia, Richt spent three years (2016-2018) as the head coach of his alma mater, the University of Miami.

Richt is no stranger to physical ailments, having suffered a heart attack in 2019. However, even with that affliction, he kept his spirits high, tweeting about it the same day as the attack. He also said he would still work that week.

Throughout his hardships, Richt continues to demonstrate his faith in Christ, which he never shies from sharing. During his time in Miami, he provided his players and coaches with personalized Bibles.

A faithful follower of Christ who received Jesus as his Savior while coaching on Bobby Bowden’s Florida State staff in 1986, Richt says he cultivates his personal relationship with God through daily quiet time reading the Bible and praying. In his post-coaching season of life, he’s learned to adapt to a slower pace.

“[God has] taught me that it’s important to rest,” Richt shared on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in August 2019. “I didn’t do a very good job of resting [as a coach]. I didn’t do very good with the Sabbath. God gave us the Sabbath for a reason.”

Since his retirement from coaching, Richt has found other ways to serve his community. He announced in June that he planned to release a book on August 31 titled, “Make the Call.” The focus of the book will be his career and lessons he learned through coaching.

Another way in which Richt serves is through his participation in the North American Missions Board. In February 2020, he accepted a position as a national spokesman for Send Relief, the compassion ministry arm for NAMB. Through this position, he can continue to have an eternal impact on the world.

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