|Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports|
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 was the Acting Head Coach and posted wins against Northwestern, Nebraska, Indiana and Penn State.
We've known full well of Kill's fights against cancer and epilepsy since he became the coach at Minnesota in 2010. And while it seemed that he had begun to manage his conditions better, it's clear that those health concerns supersede sports at this point in his life. It's a stunning turn of events to hear of his retirement so abruptly this morning.
The reigning Big Ten coach of the year and popular coach among pretty much all Big Ten fans, Kill will be missed on the sidelines in Minneapolis. There's no question the Gophers were on the rebound after years of struggles thanks almost entirely of Kill's leadership of the program.
Now, Minnesota will need to regroup fast to rally around interim coach Tracy Claeys as he leads this team down a tough stretch of the schedule.
We here at Maize & Blue Nation wish Jerry Kill all the best as he continues his courageous fight.