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Minnesota Coach Jerry Kill Suddenly Retires

Discussion in 'Football: NFL, College, High School' started by rocketsjudoka, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    U of MN Gophers' football coach Jerry Kill has announced his retirement for health reasons today.

    For those not familiar with Jerry Kill he's struggled with health issues for years including suffering epileptic seizures on the sidelines of games. Also the Gophers after having one of their best seasons in recent decades last year have taken a huge step back. I'm wondering if the Flip Saunders situation played a role in the decision as seeing Flip Saunders suddenly pass away might've convinced Kill that he couldn't both deal with trying to turn things around for the team while also dealing with his health.

    http://www.startribune.com/jerry-kill-retires-as-u-football-coach-due-to-health/337923342/

    Jerry Kill retires as U football coach due to health
    Associate head coach Tracy Claeys will take over as interim coach for Kill, 54, who has epilepsy and overcame kidney cancer in 2005.



    The University of Minnesota announced Wednesday morning that head football coach Jerry Kill is retiring because of health reasons.

    Associate head coach Tracy Claeys will take over as interim coach, with the 4-3 team preparing to play Michigan on Saturday.

    Kill, 54, has epilepsy and overcame kidney cancer in 2005.

    He missed parts of four games in his first five seasons as Gophers coach because of seizures, but he hadn’t missed part of any game since the Oct. 5, 2013 game at Michigan.

    Kill was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2005 when he was coaching at Southern Illinois.

    He had a seizure on the sideline at halftime against Western Illinois on Sept. 14, 2014, and was back that week. But when a seizure kept Kill from traveling to the game at Michigan on Oct. 5, 2014, Kill took a two-week leave to treat his epilepsy. This July, he said he hadn’t had a seizure in more than a year and a half.

    “It was pretty much a life-changing moment,” Kill’s wife, Rebecca, has said. “Jerry was at his lowest probably in his life at that point, and just trying to figure out what to do, and for pretty much about 10 days, you just didn’t know how things were going to go.”

    Claeys took over as acting head coach in 2014, but Kill resumed most of his duties and coached seven games from the press box before returning to the sideline for the second half of the Texas Bowl.

    In October 2014, Kill pledged to be seizure-free long enough to be able to drive again — at least three months by Minnesota law — and he was back behind the wheel in February.

    The university gave him a contract extension in August, raising his salary to $2.5 million. The Gophers went 3-9, 6-7, 8-5 and 8-5 in his first four years and are 4-3 heading into Saturday’s game against Michigan.

    Last year, they went 5-3 in the Big Ten, their first winning conference record since 2003, and played in their first New Year’s Day bowl game since 1962.

    In May 2015, Jerry and Rebecca Kill family started a new Chasing Dreams fund through the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota, to support seizure-free initiatives in schools, along with Camp Oz, a specially designed camp for young epilepsy patients. The Kills started the fund with a $100,000 donation.

    Kill’s contract spells out what would happen if he were unable to coach for an extended period. The contract would terminate automatically if he’s unable to coach for 70 consecutive days during the season, although Kill would remain a university employee and could seek disability benefits.

    The contract also says, “During the term of this agreement, the University and Coach may mutually agree to transition Coach … to an agreed upon position with the University,” paying $200,000 per year.

    Before last season, Claeys added the title associate head coach, and offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover is listed as assistant coach, which suggests a potential progression the staff would take if Kill could no longer coach.

    Before the 2014 season, Kill said, “I’ve done a lot of walking. I dropped about 12 to 13 pounds, quit drinking Coke and Diet Coke. I’m drinking water. All the things that can help bring on [seizure] situations, I’ve made sure I addressed.”

    Kill added: “I’ve done everything I can, so that’s all you can do,” Kill said. “But it’s kind of like a football player training; you do everything you can and see what happens.”
     
  2. Fyreball

    Fyreball Contributing Member

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    Even though I'm sure it was a really difficult decision, this was the right call. His health comes first.
     
  3. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    Probably a good decision for him. Every time I switch to a game they are playing, I think of Kill having another seizure.
     
  4. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    Just watched part of his presser on ESPN.com and it was emotional. I feel for the guy and hope he finds purpose in something else.
     
  5. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    I saw Kill's press conference this morning and it was very emotional. He revealed that he has still been having seizures and even had two the other day. He also admitted that he hasn't been following doctors' advice and had been warned that not doing so might cause mental issues later.
     

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