Former Georgia, Miami coach Richt says he has Parkinson’s

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ATLANTA — Former Georgia and Miami football coach Mark Richt has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Richt, who guided the Bulldogs for 15 seasons and closed out his coaching career at alma mater Miami, made the announcement on Twitter.

“I have been waddling around lately and people have been asking me what’s wrong,” he wrote Thursday. “I’ve decided to tell everyone at the same time. I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.”

The 61-year-old Richt said he is relying on his deep faith to cope with the condition.

“Truthfully I look at it as a momentarily light affliction compared to the future glory in heaven,” he wrote. “Thank you Jesus for promising us a future blessing of a glorified body that has no sin and no disease.”

Richt said he intends to continue in his role as an analyst on the ACC Network.

Parkinson’s is a progressive nervous system disorder that causes shaking, stiffness and difficulty with walking, balance and coordination. The symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time, and often include difficulty talking. While there is no cure, medication can help alleviate the symptoms.

Richt’s announcement was met with encouragement from coaches and former players.

“Saddened after hearing the news about Coach Richt,” Kirby Smart, who succeeded him as Georgia coach, wrote on Twitter. “Coach Richt embodies everything that a (hash)DGD (Damn Good Dawg) represents. My thoughts go out to Coach, (his wife) Katharyn & his whole family. Dawg Nation will be behind you the whole way.”

Former Georgia defensive star David Pollack said Richt “has always prioritized his faith. In winning, losing, and now in the face of adversity. The Pollack’s are praying for you! Love you coach!”

Richt, who first made his mark as Bobby Bowden’s offensive coordinator at Florida State, compiled a 145-51 record at Georgia until his dismissal at the end of the 2015 season.

He led the Bulldogs to a pair of Southeastern Conference championships, including in 2002 to break a 20-year drought. Georgia made five appearances in the SEC championship game, compiled nine seasons with at least 10 wins and was invited to 15 consecutive bowl games.

Shortly after parting ways with Georgia, Richt landed the head coaching job at Miami, where he was a backup quarterback from 1978-82.

He was 26-13 in three seasons with the Hurricanes, which included a 10-0 start in 2017 and a climb to No. 4 in the rankings before they lost their final three games. After being routed by Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, Miami lost to Wisconsin in the Orange Bowl.

The Hurricanes began 2018 ranked in the top 10 but slumped to a 7-6 mark. Richt surprisingly announced his retirement at the end of the disappointing season and was quickly replaced by Manny Diaz, who had been set to take over as Temple’s head coach.

“The entire U Family is behind you!” Diaz tweeted after hearing of his predecessor’s condition. “God will equip you with what you need for this battle!”

In 2019, Richt revealed that he had suffered a heart attack but was expected to make a full recovery.

Now, he’s dealing with another health issue.

“I am going to enjoy the blessings that I do have,” Richt said. “See you on the ACCNETWORK!”

Air Force football sanctioned for recruiting violations

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AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — The Air Force football program received two years of probation from the NCAA and had its squad size reduced by 10 for four years as part of its sanctions for recruiting violations.

The penalties were announced Thursday after Air Force and four individuals reached an agreement with NCAA enforcement staff on recruiting violations. A fifth individual in the case has contested their role and will be heard by the committee on infractions.

The sanctions also include a fine and a reduction of 46 total official visits for the football program in the 2022-23 and `23-24 academic years. In addition, there’s a prohibition on unofficial visits in football from Sept. 1 through Oct. 12, 2022, and a reduced number of evaluation days this fall.

Air Force has around 115 players on its varsity roster, plus a JV team that all count as NCAA athletes and its roster size.

“The (committee) appreciates the parties’ efforts in working collaboratively together to reach agreement on the violations, levels, classifications, and significant and meaningful penalties,” Gary Miller, the chief hearing officer for the panel and president at Akron, said in a statement. “The panel also recognizes that Air Force has gone above and beyond in its overall approach to this case.”

In a joint statement, Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark and director of athletics Nathan Pine said: “The U.S. Air Force Academy is pleased that our case has progressed to the point of the NCAA accepting our negotiated resolution. We will continue working with the NCAA on this ongoing self-reported case from the COVID dead period, as it’s our responsibility to ensure integrity of the institution, athletics department, cadet-athletes and staff.”

The Falcons are off to a 3-1 start and host Navy on Saturday to begin the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy competition. The trophy is presented to the service academy with the best record in the round-robin format.

Florida shakes up secondary after dismal game at Tennessee

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Billy Napier is shaking up his secondary after the Gators allowed 349 yards passing – including 247 of those on eight plays – in a loss at Tennessee.

Safety Trey Dean, a fifth-year senior who has started 32 games and played in 54, is out with what Florida is calling a “lower leg injury.” But no one would be surprised if Napier was quietly benching Dean after he made two mental errors against the Volunteers that resulted in 70- and 45-yard gains and set up touchdowns.

Freshman Kamari Wilson will replace Dean and make his first college start Sunday against Eastern Washington.

Cornerback Jaydon Hill will join Wilson in the starting lineup. Hill, a third-year sophomore, will make his first start since 2020. He missed the 2021 season with a torn knee ligament. He impressed Napier and his new staff in the spring but sat out preseason camp with another knee injury.

Hill will replace sophomore Avery Helm, who also struggled against the Vols.

“You talk about what he’s been through from an injury perspective,” Napier said following practice Wednesday. “Jaydon was one of the better players that we had on our team in spring practice. I was very impressed . It’s no surprise to me. He showed pretty quickly here that he’s very capable. I’m excited to watch him play.”

Georgia transfer Jalen Kimber, a former five-star recruit, is now listed as a third-team cornerback. Kimber played just 11 snaps in Knoxville a week after he returned an interception for a touchdown in a 31-28 win against South Florida.

“I like to say we try to eliminate the bad football,” Napier said. “Talking about mental errors, misalignments, poor communication, bad fundamentals and techniques, bad decision-making within the play. … We have a laundry list of things that we need to eliminate each week.

“Last week’s game, I thought we were really close, but there’s 12 or 15 plays in the game where Florida is beating Florida. We’ve got a smart group here. I think they’re very aware of what the issues are, and I think they’re working hard to address those issues.”