Four days after coaching his first game of the season in an 83-58 victory over Southern on Sunday, Texas A&M’s Billy Kennedy, diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease this fall, will now lead his men into Madison Square Garden tonight.
The Aggies will face Mississippi State in the semifinals of the Coaches v. Cancer tourney, but Kennedy’s story has nothing to do with tonight’s game– or any other game, for that matter. After A&M hired him from Murray State to replace Mark Turgeon, Kennedy learned of his diagnosis in September when symptoms such as exhaustion began to sprout up. It’s amazing that Kennedy made a recovery so quickly. Especially with such a high-strung and pressurized position as a Division I head basketball coach, nobody would have blamed him for sitting out an entire season. As Andy Katz mentions in his article on the matter, associate head coach Glenn Cyprien expects Kennedy to take it easy at times, and Cyprien will likely do a lot of hands-on coaching as Kennedy continues his recovery.
Although Parkinson’s has no cure, Kennedy will surely have access to the best treatment plan, so here’s to hoping he lives a full life from here on out, both on and off the basketball court.