Jerry Kill was named Big Ten Coach of the Year on Tuesday after leading the Gophers to a 5-3 conference finish and pushing Wisconsin to a winner-take-all game for the West Division title.
In a preseason poll of Big Ten writers, by Cleveland.com, the Gophers were picked to finish fifth in the West. But they kept themselves in the conference title hunt with November wins over Iowa and Nebraska, before falling 34-24 last week at Wisconsin.
The media and coaches selected Kill as Big Ten Coach of the Year over Urban Meyer, who led the Buckeyes to an 8-0 Big Ten record and an East Division title despite losing quarterback Braxton Miller before the season, and then losing J.T. Barrett in last week’s win over Michigan.
The last time the Gophers had a Big Ten coach of the Year was in 1999, when Glen Mason led them to a 5-3 conference finish, including a win over No. 2 Penn State.
Kill is 25-25 in four seasons as the Gophers coach. In the Big Ten, his teams have gone 2-6, 2-6, 4-4 and 5-3.
The Gophers (8-4 overall) will learn their bowl destination on Sunday.