Former Texas A&M University-Commerce head football coach Guy Morriss has been diagnosed with Azlheimer’s disease, according to a report from Lexington, Ky.-based WKYT-TV. Morriss received the diagnosis about nine months ago, the report said.
Morriss, 66, lives in Lexington, where he is the offensive line coach at Lexington Christian Academy. Morriss served as head coach at A&M-Commerce from 2009 through 2012. A native Texan, Morriss’ lifelong career in football includes a playing career in the NFL and a coaching career in the NFL and the NCAA.
Morriss’ physician, Dr. Greg Jicha, told WKYT that Morriss’ condition is likely related to his 20 years as an offensive lineman, of which 15 were in the NFL.
"We know that many NFL players and folks who have engaged in careers where repetitive head injury, even mild head injury, can leave them predisposed to a variety of conditions," Jicha said.
After resigning as head coach of the Lions, Morriss remained at A&M-Commerce as a Special Assistant to the Director of Athletics. It was during that time, in 2013, when Morriss began to notice neurological symptoms and sought a diagnosis at the Center for Brain Health in Dallas, the report said.
Morriss, who had coached at The University of Kentucky 1997-2002, decided to return to Lexington soon after experiencing neurological trouble, the report said.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, irreversible disorder. Symptoms can include memory loss, cognitive impairment, and loss of language and motor skills. No cure is known, though researchers are optimistic that treatment strategies can improve as the medical profession improves its understanding of the disease.
"We've all kind of accepted it. Everybody knows what we're dealing with," Morriss said. "The prognosis of beating it is not gonna be there for me."
Morriss led A&M-Commerce to a 5-5 record and a Lone Star Conference North Division Championship in 2009. The Lions went 3-8 in 2010 and compiled 1-9 records in 2011 and 2012.
Before coaching the Lions, Morriss was head coach at Baylor (2003-07) and Kentucky (2001-02). Morriss took the helm at Kentucky after four years on the team’s coaching staff.
In the NFL, Morriss served as offensive line coach for the New England Patriots (1988-89) and Arizona Cardinals (1994).
Morriss played center and guard for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles for a decade (1973-83) and concluded his pro playing days with the New England Patriots (1984-87). The 1985 New England Patriots won the AFC Championship before falling 46-10 to the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX.
Morriss played college football at Texas Christian University 1969-72. Morriss was born on May 13, 1951, in Colorado City.