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.