Former Baylor coach and TCU great Guy Morriss has gone public in his battle with the debilitating disease Alzheimer's. Morriss told WKYT on Monday that he's been battling the disease for several months.
Morriss is undergoing treatment at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky who diagnosed him last fall. Alzheimer's is a type of dementia. The disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in America.
Morriss said the changes in his behavior and other health problems made everyday life impossible. He suffers from short-term memory loss, mood and personality changes. Even simple tasks like dressing himself have become a challenge. "At first I couldn't write my name," he said. "I could not write my name. I didn't know my ABCs. I couldn't do that little rhyme. You wake up one day ... everything connects. Next time, you get out of bed. ... It's just a day at a time."
Morris played offensive line at TCU before a fifteen year NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. After his playing days, Morriss went into coaching in the league and at the college level. Morriss had a 9-14 record at Kentucky during the 2001 and '02 seasons. He then went to Baylor where he was 18-40 record over five seasons.
At Baylor he led the Bears to their first victory over Texas A&M since 1985 when his team beat the 16th ranked and 25 point favorite in overtime in 2004. Morriss made the gutsy call to go for two in the first overtime period and it paid off in a 35-34 win. He also coached Baylor to its first ever Big 12 road win in 2005. After Baylor and a couple of assistant stops, Morriss was the head coach at Texas A&M Commerce for four seasons including a Lone Star Conference North Division title in his first year.
These illnesses are far too common place, especially with former athletes like Morriss who played in an era when head injuries weren't acknowledged and diagnosis was in the proverbial dark ages. Keep fighting coach. We're pulling for you.