Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Jerry Kill brought Minnesota Golden Gophers football back to respectability during his tenure, including a New Year’s Day bowl appearance last season. But his tenure has come to an abrupt end, with news he will retire immediately due to health concerns. Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will take over as interim head coach.
Kill battled seizures related to epilepsy earlier in his time as Gophers’ coach, including missing all or part of games and taking a leave of absence in 2013 to deal with his health concerns. Things seemed to be going well over the last couple years though, before Kill was unable to meet with the media on Tuesday due to an appointment running late.
The Gophers’ coaching staff has the benefit of atypical continuity, as Claeys and other assistants have worked under Kill for over 20 years. Claeys also served as interim head coach during Kill’s previous absences, dating back to the coaching staff’s previous stops before Minnesota, so the role with not be new to him.
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Claeys could eventually be named Kill’s permanent replacement, regardless of the team’s win-loss record from here on out, and he should at least be in the running for the job after the season. That said, it will be interesting to follow the outside search for Minnesota’s new football coach and the kind of names that surface.