Through three years, Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy has been courageous and forthright about his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Over the summer, though, a Texas A&M recruit revealed that some in the college coaching fraternity were using Kennedy’s condition against him in recruiting.
“That’s really overrated,” Kennedy said during SEC media days. “It’s not frustrating at all. Some people have bad knees, they just don’t talk about it. My situation is obviously a little more severe than that long term. But I embrace it.
“Recruiting is recruiting. It very rarely comes up. When they get a meet me and come to our practice and see my activity level in practice. Everything is really good.”
Parkinson’s disease is a is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects close to 500,000 people in the United States, including famous actor Michael J. Fox. Kennedy was first diagnosed with the disease in 2011, shorty after he was hired as Texas A&M coach. The Aggies have gone 32-33 in Kennedy’s first two seasons and went 7-11 in the SEC last year. Kennedy’s biggest win last season — Texas A&M’s 83-71 upset of Kentucky at Rupp Arena.
Kennedy said he wasn’t surprised that opposing coaches stooped to the level of using his health against him.
“You got people who are going to do what they are going to do,” Kennedy said. “Fortunately the kids we’re recruiting, I’m involved with and they know me. This particular kid had great character and handled it well.”
“(Former Auburn coach) Sonny Smith told me years ago all is fair in love, war and recruiting, I was about 21 years old and so there is a lot of truth to that. It’s unfortunate, but that’s reality. They were attacking (former FSU football coach) Bobby Bowden a few years ago about his age. It is what it is and we still have to overcome what we need to overcome to be successful.”