Jerry Kill Retiring for Health Reasons Comment Count

Seth October 28th, 2015 at 9:48 AM

Announced at 8:30 this morning:

Kill has suffered from epilepsy—he missed the 2013 Michigan game—and overcame kidney cancer to build Minnesota back to as good as it ever was under Glen Mason. He was extremely well respected, as a coach and as a person, by everyone on this side of the Jug he won last year. Every football coach should be Jerry Kill; damn the world where we can't even have one.

Press conference live stream.


Btown Wolverine

October 28th, 2015 at 9:53 AM ^

Sucks. I never heard anything bad about the guy. I also wasn't too familiar with his career before Minnesota, but I just looked it up and he looks like he was a great coach for the duration of his career. He appears to have improved every team he's coached.


October 28th, 2015 at 9:53 AM ^

Facing Harbuagh would give most coaches health issues...    Seriously though, hope Coach Kill is o.k.  He brought back respectability to Minnesota and made them seem like a program on the rise.   


October 28th, 2015 at 10:56 AM ^

An extremely motivated team that is going to be playing for their well respected coach........on the road?  I don't feel the same about this game as I did 12 hours ago, that's for sure

That being said, Godspeed for Coach Kill. We need more people like him.......not just in sports


October 28th, 2015 at 11:46 AM ^

That was the first game Kill missed as coach. Minn won the next four games with Kill in the booth, and then lost their last three games.

So purerly from a football perspective, FWIW, there is no guarantee this will help them. I am sure in 2013 they wanted to win the Brown Jug for Kill and it didn't come close to happening.

Minny will be fired up, but there should be no way they are more fired up than a Jim Harbaugh-coached team coming off a gut-wrenching loss. We just need to play our game, and we should beat them handily.

All that said, it's been a tough week for coaches from the state of Minnesota. I really, really hope this doesn't turn south quickly as it did for Flip Saunders and that Kill can live a long, productive life outside of football.


October 28th, 2015 at 12:46 PM ^

I don't give a shit how this affects the game on Saturday.  We all know his history with both cancer and epilepsy.  We all know how much of a competitor Jerry Kill is. 

This is sad news and it is a sad day.  I hope he is able to have a great life, but I am afraid that what he is telling us is only the "tip of the iceberg."  Even at best, he has had his chosen profession ripped away from him while he was performing it on an elite level.  

Today goes into the "life is not always fair" category.  Get well soon, coach.


October 28th, 2015 at 1:45 PM ^

I just saw many, many people mention "Wow, I bet Minnesota is going to be fired up for the game now ; It's going to be a trap game ; etc" and wanted to point out a similar situation happened just two years ago and it didn't seem to impact the game. In short, who knows how it will affect the game? The game will be what it was before this -- a game.

I don't need to go to a sports blog to know who wins or loses a particular football game, in the big scheme of things, are not that important. 


October 28th, 2015 at 9:55 AM ^

A worthy opponent. Wish him only the best going forward.

Would have preferred his "win one for the coach" game was against someone else . There are going to be plenty of emotions in that building Halloween night.

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October 28th, 2015 at 10:57 AM ^

I am sure I will be negged and am not saying this is the "real" reason he is retiring but the football team has been the focus of a large number of sexual assault / harrasment allegations recently (see link below from the Star Tribune).  Administrators within the university even brought their concerns to the ex-AD Norwood Teague.  Maybe this was a contributing factor to creating stress / health problems but the sudden departure is a bit odd.


Snippet of from the article:


"Kimberly Hewitt, the school’s director of equal opportunity and affirmative action, said in a July 16 e-mail to then-athletic director Norwood Teague that her office had concerns regarding complaints about football players, including two reports of sexual assault “committed by individual players,” two reports of sexual harassment involving “groups of football players” and a report of retaliation of involving “a group of football players.”

The e-mail was obtained Wednesday through a records request by the Star Tribune. In an interview Thursday, Hewitt said the concerns were raised over the course of the 2014-15 academic year. She refused to be more specific, saying that doing so could compromise student privacy. She declined to say how many players were involved, the number of alleged victims, where the alleged incidents occurred or to provide any other details. No police reports were filed, a university spokesman said."


October 29th, 2015 at 2:51 PM ^

If the suggestion is that the health issues are a smokescreen and this is the real reason for his sudden retirement, I think that's bull.

But it's fair to say that that kind of off-the-field crap adds to the stress of an already high-stress job and it's entirely possible that it contributed to the return of his symptoms. No one will ever know for sure.

Hotel Putingrad

October 28th, 2015 at 9:57 AM ^

He had changed his medications after the last in-game occurrence, and supposedly had not suffered a single seizure since. This is totally out of the blue. I wish him and his nothing but the best.


October 28th, 2015 at 10:00 AM ^

Highly respected the guy, seemed like a great fit, and, most importantly, seemed like a genuinely good person who cared for the people around him.

Hope he finds health and hapiness in retirement.


October 28th, 2015 at 10:00 AM ^

He was such a class act and a hell of a coach. I am really sad for him.

How do you not feel for a guy who says "I don't know what I'll do. I ain't done nothing else (for 32 years)."



October 28th, 2015 at 11:06 AM ^

As Coach Kill stated, he's done nothing else for 32 years.  Calling a man's life's work "silly" is shortsighted.  These coaches do more than entertain us, they commit their lives to finding ways to teach young men about the traits of excellence.  They demonstrate to all of us that with commitment, discipline, and teamwork, that any endeavor, no matter how seemingly impossible, can be achieved.  

Sure, there's coaches (and leagues) who see only wins and losses.  Whose graduates see nothing but dollar signs and celebrity. However, the majority (even at the top ranks) really do have programs that seek to give a sense of direction and purpose to their players.  They seek to inspire us all to greater heights.  

The modern world doesn't generally require us to be at our peak physically.  Despite the impressive paychecks of modern professional athletes, their pay pales in comparison with the top intellectuals and businesspeople.  Still, athletics is a very distinct and visual experience which - when looked upon with a grasp of all the work and effort that has gone into making the entertainment in front of us - leads us to drive ourselves within our talents to set ever higher standards, and push our collective world ahead.

Athletics isn't silly, it's metaphor.  The statistics and results themselves may not be individually important, but remember, it's the first step which leads to the second which leads to the third... On Saturdays, we get to see the results of all the details to which the team has already dealt.  Those details are not silly, nor is discussing that minutiae.  It ought to give us a greater perspective of what we're seeing - the payoff at the end of a long road.  

We don't discuss life and death of individuals when we talk sports, we discuss that which drives us forward as a species.  


October 28th, 2015 at 4:20 PM ^

... when compared to the species and what makes us different than goldfish, I don't guess at all, one life is definitely silly.  There's a reason parents sacrifice for children, why soldiers sacrifice for each other.  Why we bother to teach.  You and I are important only insofar as the whole is important.  If our whole is crap, our individuals are less.  If our whole is strong, our individuals are more.  

Humans have been humans for something like 50 thousand years.  Any one individual life is less important than all of us together.

There's a reason Sparty is little brother, because as a whole they have the attitude of little brothers, not as confident self-actualized adults.  Sure, individuals within Sparty nation are grown-ups, but the fan base as a whole?  Little brother.  

Yes Matty, if you and I are in a room during The Game, and you start choking right as Jabrill breaks the game winning touchdown, it is right and proper that I stop watching and save your life, because your life is more important than a game.  But - when we're discussing whether talking about society or talking about the value of one life - we're in it for the species, boys and girls.  

Honk if Ufer M…

October 28th, 2015 at 12:24 PM ^

Well if you have 20 billion dollars you can ride to outer space but you can't get a room on the space station or a condo on the moon just yet.

So what are these other options we're so lucky to have? Where else can we live other than the planet we're destroying for the profiteering of a handful of people, our only home?

I guess the no religion rule only applies if you're not all for it, but if you'd rather talk reality about how we could, need to, and should live, based on human decisions in our control rather than absurd fairy tales then that's politics and a no no.

It's fine to talk about random tragedies to individuals that nobody can do anything about. It's fine to have I hate cancer threads about individuals, but if you tied how much cancer is caused by unregulated industry, protected & promoted by government and corporate media and how many tens of millions of people or more that it affects, that's verboten.

So when there are terrible things happening to the masses that are due solely to policy and practice that is within our power to change and save/improve lives for millions, tens, or hundreds of millions that is off limits. This is not the place. In other words it's fine to pretend to care and be human, but to actually do so is unacceptable!

Glorify war and military, that's hunky dory, talk about peace, justice, working together to solve problems instead of promoting dog eat dog, that's politics and you're a terrible person for wanting rationality and humanity!

I know, I know, not here, not here, not in my backyard. But without reaching everyday people who are not immersed in issues and politics and dragging them out of their stupors and inserting the real world into the fantasy worlds you want to live in, like football without the intrusion of politics even though it is engulfed in politics, and the worst kinds, then we are literally helpless to save ourselves and make our only home a decent place to live going forward!

Who is more propagandized into accepting or cheering for the unacceptable and inhumane than sports fans who watch games & sports news on tv and listen to it on radio?

Contrary to the poster above who thinks the world is being uplifted by football and being taught all these great lessons about teamwork etc., it's just not true. Whatever the coaches might or might not be trying to teach their players that has nothing to do with what American's are taught via football fandom!

They are fed a steady diet of militarism, blind loyalty, blind faith, might makes right, translate those sports rooting traits to faux patriotism and "support for the troops" meaning support the wars and military actions and treat it like a team sport we need to cheer for rather than to understand, question or refuse to go along with.

They are sold every kind of bad, dangerous, or useless crap that destroys air, water, earth, living things, the planet, people's lives, people's time as wage slaves to the destructive systems that benefit those at the top of each pyramid scheme.

They are sold the idea that they are consumers and competitors rather than human beings, citizens, and cooperators using teamwork to fix problems and protect ourselves from major predators.

They are sold that companies are your friends with cute characters and mascots rather than your biggest enemies.

They are sold that the biggest and most self interested criminals are acceptable news sources reporting or not reporting on themselves.

It's ok they're in charge of dictating public taste and opinion and being gatekeepers on what information we get, who we can listen to, what points of views or opinions are allowed to be heard.

It's ok they're in charge of who we vote for, what our election system is, what the debates and subjects are, who can win or not, what it costs to run or win and everything else that matters!

They sell you all that garbage and sports fans are misdirected, lied to and kept from the relevant things they need to know about our country and world.

It's killing us, killing democracy, killing freedom, killing human rights and civil rights and constitutional rights.

None of that is important though, it's just politics and it shouldn't be discussed in "polite" society! Especially polite football society for fuck's sake!


October 28th, 2015 at 10:15 AM ^

Sucks to hear, hope he is OK.  And now I feel bad that this is the game where Michigan hopes to pummel their opponent to get the bad taste of the MSU game out.


October 28th, 2015 at 10:16 AM ^

As Minnesota's enemy (the day after Halloween no less) and friendly neighborhood chainsaw massacre suspect (nobody saw me), I have to say that murder ain't no fun if there ain't no Kill.

Friend of mine grew up with epilepsy.  I hope we beat Kill's team, but the circumstances suck.


October 28th, 2015 at 10:33 AM ^

The sudden retirement just tells me he had another seizure.

Epilepsy can be a symptom of a terminal condition, but by itself it isn't a death sentence by any means.  The worst aspect of it is the loss of control, which can be bad enough to result in suicide.  Dogs can sense seizures, or so I've heard, but either way we still can't prevent them.  So if you have epilepsy you can't do various things like drive, swim, or  -- and this is the rub for Kill -- be anywhere near a field engaging in a contact sport.  Pretty much anything where a sudden loss of consciousness could be fatal must be avoided, even if seizures are very rare.  Whether they happen daily or once every other year, the difficulty is preventing the next seizure from being the figurative last.  What makes it especially tough is this rules out most kinds of jobs, although Kill's better off than most in that he's made FBS coach pay.

So Kill retiring doesn't necessarily mean his long-term health is impacted.  But even if the meds went from preventing 100% of seizures to 99.9% of them, that he had one at all is grounds for him to retire immediately.  It sucks, but perfect seizure prevention is the only difference between a normal life and constant worry.


October 28th, 2015 at 11:36 AM ^

he can get a cushier job as a highly payed analyst. I also have read that this staff has followed him around; so they may be okay at Minnie with the continuity. 

D1 football coach is a heck of a job. I don't know if its easier at Minnesota, or harder. But look at what Coach Harbaugh does. I can't imagine my wife being happy with me if I was putting in the hours and weeks that a D1 coach does. And if you have health issues... man.

So good for Coach Kill. Hopefully he has enough saved up he can be comfortable. And hopefully he can find a job on the football periphery to keep lending his influence and keep happy. 


October 28th, 2015 at 9:13 PM ^

Many people with epilepsy work a variety of jobs, including coaching football, teaching, nursing, practicing law and medicine, I could go on and on.  It doesn't rule out most jobs, except the obvious (taxi driver, tight rope walker)  Stress may have been a factor in Coach Kill's seizures which might be why he decided to call it quits.  It wasn't dangerous for him to be on the sidelines, though.  He wasn't playing the game for heaven's sake.  And to your last point, "that he had them at all is grounds for him to retire immediately" just isn't true.  He's been fighting this battle for a while.and they haven't asked him to retire.  In fact, I'm sure due to a little thing called the ADA (American's with Disabilities Act) this is his choice, and not the university's.



October 29th, 2015 at 7:13 AM ^

There's a difference between "epilepsy" and "seizures".  You can live with epilepsy, which can cause seizures.  The seizures are the problem.  (I also misspoke in that they can't be prevented; they very much can depending on how the patient responds to treatment.  What I meant to say is that IF you still get them, you don't get to pick when and where they occur.)  If they're not controlled it's debilitating.  Many people with epilepsy live perfectly normal lives, yes, but if the meds don't work, you have to at least consider what could happen if they had a seizure while on the job.  That rules out a surprising array of occupations (the type and length of seizure also matter a great deal, but I was trying to keep this simple).  The ADA isn't an in-your-face cudgel here; it's as often as not about self-preservation.  For example, you can't be a line cook -- being around stoves and fryers all day is not the best place for a brain to go haywire.  I don't know how bad Kill has it; it's none of my business.  I'll admit my post was worded badly, but I'm just trying to get people to understand that seizures are generally less about "is he gonna die" and more about quality of life.

Anyway, there are no "sidelines" per se in football practice; teams don't just scrimmage all day.  There are bodies flying around and all kinds of heavy equipment he could easily smack his head against with a sudden loss of consciousness.  And yes, it's also extremely stressful.  But if stress alone is what got to him then a mid-season retirement is rather odd.


October 29th, 2015 at 11:27 AM ^

He's had seizures before. He's even had them in-game, he keeps coming back. If he agreed with you about the risk/reward here, if he thought a single seizure was grounds for immediate retirement, he'd have quit coaching a long, long time ago.

To outright retire, out of the blue, a few days before one of the biggest games on their schedule? That's not just a recurrence of a problem he's had for many years. Something's gone south with his health in a hurry and I'm really, really worried about the man.


October 28th, 2015 at 10:19 AM ^

Terrible news. He really seemed like a standup guy and a great representative of the conference. Terrible that his health is forcing a retirement. Best of luck to the man going forward!

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