Minnesota football: Jerry Kill retiring due to health reasons
University of Minnesota head football coach Jerry Kill announced today that he is retiring from his position effective immediately due to medical concerns. Kill is stepping away from college football with a career record of 156-102 and a 29-29 mark at Minnesota.
Minnesota Interim Athletics Director Beth Goetz named Tracy Claeys interim head coach this morning. Claeys, who has worked with Kill for 21 years, was previously Minnesota’s associate head coach and defensive coordinator.
Claeys served as Minnesota’s acting head coach for seven games during the 2013 season when Kill took time to focus on his health. Minnesota was 4-3 with Claeys and posted wins against Northwestern, Nebraska, Indiana and Penn State.
Kill was named Minnesota’s head coach on Dec. 7, 2010, and took the Gophers to heights not seen in recent years. Last season, Kill led Minnesota to a Jan. 1 bowl game for the first time since 1962 and coached the Gophers to wins against Michigan and Iowa, which had previously not happened in the same season since 1967. Under Kill's direction, Minnesota also erased a 14-point halftime deficit at Nebraska to beat the ranked Huskers on the road for the first time since 1960. Minnesota won eight games in both 2013 and 2014, which marked only the fifth time since 1906 that Minnesota won eight games in consecutive seasons.
In 2014, Kill was voted the Big Ten's Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year by the conference's coaches and the Dave McClain Coach of the Year by the media who cover the Big Ten. He also was named Region 3 Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association for the second straight year. Kill, who was the only repeat winner among the five Football Bowl Subdivision coaches, was recognized by the AFCA for the fourth time, as he was also named a Regional Coach of the Year in 2003 and 2004 while at Southern Illinois.
Last season, Kill coached the Big Ten Tight End of the Year Maxx Williams and the Big Ten Punter of the Year Peter Mortell and in total five Gophers were named All-Big Ten First Team, the most since 2004.
The NFL also took note of Kill's rebuilding of the Minnesota program, as six Gophers were selected in the last two NFL Drafts. In 2014, Ra'Shede Hageman was selected in the second round by the Atlanta Falcons and Brock Vereen was a fourth-round pick of the Chicago Bears. In 2015, Maxx Williams was taken in the second round by the Baltimore Ravens, while Damien Wilson (fourth round to the Dallas Cowboys), David Cobb (fifth round to the Tennessee Titans) and Cedric Thompson (fifth round to the Miami Dolphins) also heard their named called by NFL teams.
The four draft picks from 2015 are the most that Minnesota has had since it also had four players picked in 2006. The six combined picks from 2014 and 2015 were more than Minnesota had drafted from 2007-13 (Gophers had four players taken during this time).
Kill's rebuilding of the Minnesota program also took place in the classroom. The Gophers recorded a 994 Academic Progress Rate (APR) for the 2013-14 season as well as the 2012-13 and 2011-12 seasons. The 994 score is the highest single-season score that the Minnesota football team has ever recorded and the Gophers' multi-year rate of 975 is also a school record.