Guy Morriss, formerly the head coach at Kentucky, Baylor and Texas A&M-Commerce, revealed he has Alzheimer's in an interview with WKYT-TV.
"It's hard to accept," Morriss said through tears.
Morriss, 66, traces the diagnosis back to a multi-decade career as an offensive lineman, . He played for TCU from 1969-72, with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1973-83 and the New England Patriots from 1984-87. "My generation, we were taught to lead with the forehead, and our helmets weren't very good."
Morriss says he first noticed symptoms oncoming four years ago, though he denied them at first. An MRI at a brain health center in Dallas told him he was dealing with early onset dementia. The Morrisses moved to Kentucky, where he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.
"At first I couldn't write my name. Could not write my name. I didn't know my ABCs," he said. As a public figure, Morriss says one of the hardest things to deal with is interacting with Wildcats fans in public. "I know what to say, but I just can't get it out. The connection's not there. That's the most frustrating thing to me."
Morriss says physical therapy and prescription medication have helped return his quality of life, though he does not believe a cure will be found in his lifetime. "You stay with it. You learn the pattern again and that's a win for me," he said. "Dressing myself is a win for me. Tying shoes is a win for me."
Morriss got into coaching as the offensive line coach for the Patriots in 1989 and remained in the profession through 2015. He was Kentucky's head coach from 2001-02 and led Baylor's program from 2003-07. He later served as Texas A&M-Commerce's head coach from 2009-12.