There is good news buried somewhere in the stunning news that LSU assistant coach Steve Kragthorpe has stepped down from the position of offensive coordinator due to a diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease. Parkinson's, while ultimately terminal, is manageable. With steady treatment and some good luck along the way, Kragthorpe will enjoy a high quality of life for some time to come, and should be more than able to serve as a quality quarterbacks coach for LSU in that time. He's being granted the time and space to continue to do what he loves to do, and in the end that is about all anyone can ask for in this situation.
That said, the diagnosis for the former Louisville and Tulsa coach is cruel in multiple ways. Kragthorpe is already dealing with the illness of his wife Cynthia, who endured a long health crisis culminating in a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis last year. He'll now have to face his own serious long-term illness combined with his spouse's, and somehow help guide his three children through the trials of having not one, but two parents dealing with serious medical issues.
Given the insane challenge ahead of him, the football narrative attached to Kragthorpe's story now seems almost insignificant. Yet it's still worth noting that a secondary but still extant element of this story is the somewhat diverted possibility of a real professional redemption for Kragthorpe. The moribund LSU offense was his reclamation project to manage this season, his ticket to erasing the memories of a disastrous tenure as the Louisville Cardinals' head coach. Even with the steep personal issues he was facing before the diagnosis -- or indeed, maybe even because of them -- it had to mean a lot to a professional who had spent his entire life pouring himself into football. The chance to prove himself had to mean something, even in the midst of the larger medical drama surrounding his family.
That chance has now been thwarted, and someone who already had his fair share of mortal misery will have to endure yet more. LIfe's not fair, but saying that never made anything better, or a sick person well, or a righted a wrong. He'll get to keep coaching, sure. Before that goes over the horizon, however, a quick complaint letter in the direction of Fate.
That was a dick move, sir.
From the graceful way he's handled everything so far, that's something Steve Kragthorpe would never say. But it needs to be said nevertheless. Not cool, life. Not cool in the least.