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Updated: September 15th, 2013 4:11pm
Jerry Kill expected back in office Sunday afternoon, staff moving on

Jerry Kill expected back in office Sunday afternoon, staff moving on

by Nate Sandell
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Gophers coaching staff's firm stance in backing head coach Jerry Kill has not wavered.

Kill's ongoing battle with epilepsy was brought back to the forefront Saturday when the 52-year-old coach suffered an epileptic seizure on the sidelines at halftime of the Gophers' victory against Western Illinois.

It was the third in-game seizure Kill has experienced in his tenure at Minnesota.

But offensive coordinator Matt Limegrover and defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, who have been with Kill for more than a decade, adamantly repeated Sunday in a sit-down with beat reporters that Kill's epilepsy battle and how to deal with it has become second nature for the team.

"You don't mean to act so ho-hum about it, but everybody knows what the situation is and you deal with it and move on," Claeys said. "As a staff, players, everybody, I think it went smooth."

"We know how to handle the situation. That's the best thing our kids proved yesterday that they are comfortable with the situation. Nobody likes to see him go through it, but we are all comfortable with the situation and know that it can happen. I was very pleased yesterday with the way everybody responded, and we will continue to move the program forward."

Kill was taken to the hospital after being carted off the field  Saturday, but returned to his home only few hours later. Claeys, one of Kill's closest friends, went to the third-year Gophers coach's home in the evening following the game. Claeys said Kill was in good spirits and spending the night with his family.

Kill stayed at his home Sunday morning instead of at the team's practice facility, told by Claeys there was, "No sense in hurrying" into the office with players not scheduled to arrive for team meetings until 4 p.m.

Claeys and Limegrover both expected Kill to be back in the office later in the afternoon.

Questions have once again risen around Kill's long-term health status and his longevity in his position, and rightfully so given his high public profile.

Both Claeys and Limegrover are aware of the questions and arguments being made, but they were clear that there has never been any debate among the coaching staff regarding whether or not Kill's health status will force him to take a step back from his head coaching duties.

"If the doctors and all of his family said, "Hey, this is what's best for him, for him to step away,' there wouldn't be one of us who would argue with him on that," Claeys said.

"But at the same time ... There is no inclining of that around, because if there were we would say, 'Hey coach, it isn't worth it.' That's just not the case."

Gophers athletic director Norwoord Teague, who was not made available for comment following Saturday's game, is slated to meet with the media on Monday morning.

Nate Sandell is a contributor to
Email Nate | @nsandell