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Updated: October 10th, 2013 2:48pm
Jerry Kill will temporarily step aside to focus on epilepsy treatment

Jerry Kill will temporarily step aside to focus on epilepsy treatment

by Phil Mackey and Derek Wetmore
Email | Twitter

MINNEAPOLIS -- The University of Minnesota announced Thursday that head football coach Jerry Kill will temporarily step aside so he can focus on treatment for his epilepsy.

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as head coach in Kill's absence.

"My wife Rebecca, myself and our two daughters want to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns during the last few weeks," Kill said in a statement. "This was a difficult decision to make, but the right decision. Our staff has been together a long time and I have full confidence in Coach Claeys and them during my time away. Every decision that will be made will be in the best interest of the players and the program. I look forward to returning to the Minnesota sideline on a full-time basis soon."

The University's athletics director Norwood Teague added, "Coach Kill is taking time to continue treatment and focus on managing his Epilepsy. ... 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.

"This is a great group of student-athletes under the guidance of one of the longest-tenured and most respected staffs in college football, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will continue to move this program forward and make us proud."

University President Eric Kaler, who voiced his support of Kill this week, added: "Norwood Teague and Coach Kill are managing this health situation, as it relates to our football program, in the most straightforward and caring manner possible. They are acting in the best interests of this University, its alumni and fans and, most importantly, the student-athletes who have placed their trust in us. I eagerly look forward to Coach Kill's return and wish him all the best."

Kill suffered a seizure on the sideline around halftime of the Gophers' Sept. 14 win over Western Illinois. He was not feeling well late last week and did not travel with the team on Friday to Ann Arbor, Mich.

He had planned to join the team Saturday morning before the Gophers road game against the Wolverines, but had another seizure Saturday morning and instead stayed in Minnesota. Saturday's episode was Kill's fifth documented seizure during his tenure with the Gophers.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for His previous stops include and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore