Dick Meader noticed the first evidence of Parkinson’s disease 15 years ago.
Signs of the progressive nervous system disorder gradually became more pronounced, to the point where the longtime University of Maine at Farmington men’s basketball coach was diagnosed with the condition several years ago.
Now 73, Meader continues to coach through the gradual changes he endures from year to year. His passion for teaching and coaching are a continuing source of motivation for his daily 33-mile commute from his Waterville home to his Dearborn Gymnasium office on the UMF campus.
“I’m a little more tired, but not much,” said Meader, who secured his 500th career coaching victory on Jan. 10 with an 83-51 win at Northern Vermont-Lyndon. “Then you have to ask yourself, is it Parkinson’s or just old age?”
Meader’s voice is not as loud as it once was, making it slightly more difficult to communicate positive reinforcement during a game. Handwriting is another struggle, due to hand tremors.
“I can’t really write a sentence now legibly,” he said. “If I do, I really have to sit and concentrate on doing it. I try to do crossword puzzles now. I maybe do one a week now, where before the season I’d do it every day but Sunday.
“It makes me concentrate, but my Solon [High School] education keeps me from doing more,” Meader said with a laugh.
Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...
More by Ernie Clark