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Jerry Kill will remain away from Gophers to focus on epilepsy treatment

Jerry Kill AP

One of the truly good guys in the game of college football will be away from the Minnesota sidelines for the foreseeable future.

In an announcement made Thursday, Gophers head coach Jerry Kill confirmed that he will continue to take time to focus on his treatment and better manage his epilepsy.  When Kill will return in an active, in-person role with the Gophers remains undetermined.

“My wife Rebecca, myself and our two daughters want to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns during the last few weeks,” Kill said in a statement. “This was a difficult decision to make, but the right decision. Our staff has been together a long time and I have full confidence in Coach Claeys and them during my time away. Every decision that will be made will be in the best interest of the players and the program. I look forward to returning to the Minnesota sideline on a full-time basis soon.”

Kill did not coach in last weekend’s loss to Michigan due to a seizure he suffered the day before the Saturday game.

The seizure was at least the fourth game-day occurrence — or occurrence negatively impacting his availability on game day — for Kill, who has been battling epilepsy for years.

During his first season in 2011, Kill suffered a seizure on the sidelines late in the fourth quarter of a September game against New Mexico State.  In October of last year, he suffered another seizure in the immediate aftermath of a loss to Northwestern.

At halftime of Minnesota’s game with Western Illinois three weeks ago, the Gophers head coach was treated by team medical personnel for a seizure.  Kill was subsequently taken by a stretcher off the sidelines and into the locker room for further treatment.

“Coach Kill will remain in very close contact with the team and his staff and provide direction and support as needed,” athletic director Norwood Teague said. “Our support for Coach Kill is unwavering and we look forward to his return to full-time coaching duties.

“This is a great group of student-athletes under the guidance of one of the longest-tenured and most respected staffs in college football, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will continue to move this program forward and make us proud.”

The announcement comes two days after the university’s president, Eric Kaler, once again offered his unwavering support for the coach.

As has previously been the case, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as the Gophers’ acting head coach in Kill’s absence.

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5 Responses to “Jerry Kill will remain away from Gophers to focus on epilepsy treatment”
  1. kappy32 says: Oct 10, 2013 5:18 PM

    Good, he should. The University would never use his condition to fire him because it would open them up to a big-time lawsuit under the ADA. However, this is clearly an issue & it is affecting his work in a negative way. I’m sure the team gets worried about him, wondering if this is the Grand Mal Seizure that takes him out. Additionally, he has missed practice time & games due to this condition. It is clear that his epilepsy is affecting a major life function – working – and he should be on permanent disability. If he would like to serve as an advisor or consultant, more power to him. Nevertheless, he can’t keep coaching if he can’t stay healthy. I hope 2 things happen here: (1) He resigns to focus on getting his condition under control; and (2) He actually gets his condition under control & lives a productive life for many years to come.

  2. barkleyblows says: Oct 10, 2013 5:21 PM

    Good luck coach! Hope to see you on the sidelines soon!

  3. kicksave1980 says: Oct 10, 2013 10:50 PM

    It’s a damn shame, but the right choice. Hopefully they can get his medicine right and he can return soon. I don’t really
    Follow Minnesota, but it sucks to see someone prevented from living out their dream due to things outside of their control.

  4. sparky151 says: Oct 10, 2013 11:38 PM

    His condition seems to be preventing him from doing his job pretty frequently. This isn’t like a coach working while dealing with cancer. His episodes are surely distracting to the team when they happen on the sideline during a game or in the locker room.

    Also the bit about him being one of the good guys might be going too far. See the WR he ran off a couple years ago for a different view of Kill.

  5. fmc651 says: Nov 5, 2013 6:28 PM

    Sparky151,

    I think you picked the wrong side. The WR transfered to Houston where he isn’t playing for them either.I guess that have a bad guy for a coach there as well. More people are going to say Kill is one of the good guys than not. Did you bother to read about the WR at all before you commented like this? Just the way he went about exiting them team was wrong. And it said a lot about this sad individual. Minnesota is glad he is gone, they do not miss the WR.

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