Jerry Kill to take break from coaching; Tracy Claeys named interim coach

Submitted by Dilla Dude on October 10th, 2013 at 3:53 PM
@ESPNAndyKatz Minnesota announces coach Jerry Kill will take a break to focus on treating his epilepsy Tracy Claeys will be interim coach

I'm glad Kill is taking the time to get treated for his condition. I think he's the right guy for Minnesota. Wish him well with his efforts.



October 10th, 2013 at 3:57 PM ^

because he really looks like a Golden Gopher to me.

Seriously though, good for him.  It will be better for all involved if he can get his epilepsy under better control.


October 10th, 2013 at 3:58 PM ^

He seems like a good guy.  Seems to be a pretty good coach.  I know Coach Hoke has mentioned several times how much he respects Jerry Kill.  I wish him well with his health, too.


October 10th, 2013 at 4:41 PM ^

Sad but probably warranted.

Question though - what exactly does the statement mean?  Was their some treatment option available he didnt pursue because he was coaching?  The announcement makes it sound like if only had enough time then he'd be able to "fix" this and get back to coaching.  And my extremely limited and non-clinical understanding of the desease is that stress is a trigger and I cant imagine how you coach without stress.

So is he bascally done?  

oriental andrew

October 10th, 2013 at 4:48 PM ^

Lack of sleep is a trigger, doesn't list stress.  I'm sure he's probably got pretty poor sleep hygiene (late to bed, early to rise).

Some studies suggest emotional stress (especially when combined with chronic fatige/lack of sleep) may be a trigger.  Physical stress is also listed.  

I guess the real question is whether or not Kill's specific triggers are known.  I suspect they must have an idea and that there is a specific course of treatment - whether it's just good sleep hygiene or otherwise.

Not for us to speculate whether or not he's done.  If he doesn't feel like he can continue adequately, I'm sure we'll know at some point.  


October 11th, 2013 at 7:40 AM ^

Guess would be that he continues to coach in some capacity. His dedication to football does not seem in question at this point. He was still on the sideline after 3 seizures. This much is clear. Jerry kill gonna coach him some football.


October 11th, 2013 at 1:01 AM ^

they have been trying some new medication and in the short term, that may have caused the seizure. Hope is that if they give the medication some time and he gets some rest & limits his coaching duties, he'll be OK.

Perkis-Size Me

October 10th, 2013 at 4:45 PM ^

Best of luck to Coach Kill. Although its unfortunate to have to make this decision, its undoubtedly the right one. His illness has undoubtedly become too much of a distraction for his players. Hope to see him back on the sidelines soon, as he seems like the right man for the job at Minnesota.

snarling wolverine

October 10th, 2013 at 5:00 PM ^

I think he's the right guy for Minnesota.

Out of curiosity, why do you think this? I feel for him personally and hope he gets better, but as a coach he doesn't seem particularly innovative or good at recruiting.

oriental andrew

October 10th, 2013 at 5:18 PM ^

His history suggests that he's a pretty good coach.  It had been 10 years since Southern Illinois had a winning record when Kill arrived.  After going 1-10 and 4-8 his first 2 seasons, he won his conference 3 times and averaged fewer than 3 losses per season.  

NIU was 2-10 the season before he arrived (although they had had some success with the ousted coach), and he took them to a 11-3 record.  

Maybe not a world-beater, but solid.  Chandler Harnish was all-MAC during Kill's tenure.


October 10th, 2013 at 5:02 PM ^

Here's the CBS Sports article, which fills in some information on how involved / not involved Kill plans to be (LINK). From Norwood Teague's statement:

"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."


October 10th, 2013 at 5:40 PM ^

It seems like the number of games he is missing is increasing.  Unfortunately he may just not be able to do the job anymore.  That puts Minnesota in a tough spot.  It would be difficult for them to fire him if he does not want to leave.  At the same time they are now stuck with a lot of uncertainty around the coaching position.  CNN had a deal on a few months ago about a "natural" medicine that has been effective treating seizures.  Maybe he should try and get the CU job after the latest coach gets fired. 


October 10th, 2013 at 6:49 PM ^

Though he is probably done at this point. Minnesota probably doesn't want to create a spectacle, news story, or distraction for the team any more than there already is around this situation. I'd bet after this season ends, Kill will announce his retirement. Best-a-luck. 


October 10th, 2013 at 7:18 PM ^

I know nothing of his personal condition, but it seems like the seizures showed up when he became a D1 head coach and have been getting more frequent. Seems like a good guy for Minnesota but no one wants to see him get permanently injured or disabled. Hope he's able to return


October 10th, 2013 at 8:02 PM ^

The seizures started at Southern Illinois; he was then found to be suffering from kidney cancer, which was treated and has been in remission. The seizures, unfortunately, remained.

What showed up when he became a D1 head coach was the media attention to his condition.



October 10th, 2013 at 10:27 PM ^

Wish him the best.  It's not an easy situation for anybody involved; Kill is doing a good job at Minny given what he walked into, but his condition is undoubtedly hindering him to some extent.


October 11th, 2013 at 1:01 AM ^

This is the right move, but for Coach Kill and the program. Many men aren't able to stop doing things about which they are passionate even if it hurts them, and it's time he says enough is enough. And though I think Kill is a good coach, his health has impeded his ability to coach (and do his other duties) well.


October 11th, 2013 at 8:19 AM ^

Given what I know about seizure disorders and what is public about Coach Kill and his condition, I really don't think he's going to be able to continue as HC.  Proper rest and avoidence of extreme stress are just as important to keeping seizures to a minimum as is medication.  I really don't think there is a way to be HC at the level of program he's at while getting plenty of rest and avoiding stress.