Minnesota coach Jerry Kill takes leave for epilepsy
Minnesota announced today that Jerry Kill will focus on dealing with and treating his epilepsy and not return to the sidelines for the time being. It’s not known when Kill will return to coaching, but he will be back at some point. While away from coaching, Minnesota defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as acting head coach.
Perhaps this time away will provide Kill with a better way to deal with his health issues. Perhaps it won’t. Only time will tell. Until then, Minnesota’s season marches on.
The Gophers (4-2, 0-2) are off this week following a 42-13 loss at Michigan, their second straight defeat after a promising 4-0 start. Minnesota next plays Oct. 19 at Northwestern.
In a statement, Kill said: “My wife Rebecca, myself and our two daughters want to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns during the last few weeks. 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.”
We’ll post the entire press conference from Minnesota in this post shortly. For now, here are some opening statements from Minnesota A.D. Norwood Teague.
|Minnesota Schedule 2013|
|Date||Opponent||Result / Time|
|8/29||vs. UNLV||W 51 – 23|
|9/7||at New Mexico State||W 44 – 21|
|9/14||vs. Western Illinois||W 29 – 12|
|9/21||vs. San Jose State||W 43 – 24|
|9/28||vs. Iowa||L 7 – 23|
|10/5||at 19 Michigan||L 13 – 42|
|10/19||at 19 Northwestern||12:00 ET|
|11/2||at Indiana||3:30 ET|
|11/9||vs. Penn State||TBA|
|11/30||at Michigan State||TBA|
Last week, Kill was unable to attend Minnesota’s game at Michigan after suffering a seizure. It was the fifth seizure Kill had suffered since being hired at Minnesota in 2011. Before his latest episode, Kill’s most recent seizure occurred during last month’s win vs. New Mexico State. Kill has battled epilepsy dating back to his days as a FCS coach.
With continued health issues, many have wondered if it is best for Kill and the Minnesota program for him to continue coaching. Is the stress of being a big-time coach too much for someone with Kill’s issues? How will prospective recruits feel about committing to a coach who continually has had health issues that have forced him away from his job?
“Coach Kill is taking time to continue treatment and focus on managing his Epilepsy,” Teague said in a statement. “Tracy Claeys will serve as the interim head coach until Coach Kill is ready to return. Coach Kill will remain in very close contact with the team and his staff and provide direction and support as needed. 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.”
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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