Coordinators express confidence Jerry Kill will remain with Gophers
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Jerry Kill was not at the Minnesota Gophers football offices on Sunday morning.
But one day after Kill suffered a seizure that kept him absent from the sidelines of the Gophers' 42-13 loss at Michigan, the attitude among the coaching staff and players reflected the same "business as usual" mentally they've shown throughout Kill's ongoing struggles with the effects of epilepsy.
Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, who along with offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover met with a small group of reporters Sunday, said he has spoken to Kill and his wife, Rebecca, since the 52-year-old coach opted to stay in Minneapolis after not feeling well on Friday.
On Sunday, while Kill was at home resting, Claeys texted the head coach to tell him there was no need to come into the office, given the change in Gophers' typical Sunday with the team heading into a bye week. The coaches met with players briefly in the morning before dismissing them for the rest of the afternoon.
Kill's most recent seizure was his fifth documented epileptic episode to occur on a game day during his three-year tenure with the Gophers.
Since a seizure suffered at halftime forced him to miss the second half of the Gophers' Sept. 14 victory against Western Illinois, Kill has been working continually with his doctors to adjust his medication in order to better keep the disorder in check.
Kill was undergoing an adjustment in his medication when he started to feel slightly off towards the end of the week. Following a meeting with doctors, the decision was made to not travel to Ann Arbor with the team on Friday.
Claeys admitted the frustrating nature of the situation for all parties involved, but was adamant when asked if he felt Kill was on the track towards being able to better manage the disorder.
"I do know this, and all you can do is go by his doctor, who they say is one of the best, he claims that when he gets his medication regulated they'll have great control over this," Claeys said. "In the doctor's eyes, he's getting closer to being able to control it."
Claeys and Limegrover both confirmed Kill was at practices throughout the week. Claeys, who has been on Kill's staff since 1994, said the coach has rarely missed practice in the time since first being diagnosed with epilepsy.
"I can count on one hand probably the number of practices he's missed in the last nine years," Claeys said.
Kill's latest episode has reignited the ongoing public discussion about his longevity in his current role. But Claeys made it clear that at no point has he sensed Kill has considered taking a step back in his coaching responsibilities.
"I'm telling you, there are two things about that guy, he's the greatest competitor I've ever been around, and he's the most caring person I've ever been around," Claeys said.
"He is who he is. He loves the University of Minnesota. He loves the state, our football team ... As long as he feels he can keep (the program) going the same direction he'll keep battling. It's frustrating, don't get me wrong. But you won't find a more competitive person and a more caring person. I don't have any concerns."