Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill said in a radio interview that he’s “hopeful” Tracy Claeys will be named the team’s permanent head coach “in the next couple weeks.”

“I know Coach Claeys is going to do a great job,” Kill told Southern Illinois broadcaster Mike Reis on Saluki Radio. “I’m very hopeful and positive that here in the next couple weeks he’ll be hired as the head coach permanently, and we’ll see.”

Kill, 54, was inducted into the Southern Illinois Hall of Fame last winter and owns a lake home outside Carbondale, Ill. He retired as Gophers coach last week because of health issues.

“I’m doing OK,” Kill said. “It’s going to be hard for a little bit. I know I did the right thing. Accepting it is something different. I said I’d never cheat somebody.”

Reflecting on his decision, Kill said he was “burned out and worn out” from being a head coach.

“I’ve got a guy on my staff [Claeys], and he’s got all that juice, and a bunch of other guys who know what they’re doing,” Kill said. “So why cheat anybody?”

Kill and his wife, Rebecca, are heading to Florida for about 10 days to unwind. Kill acknowledged he has a lot of thinking to do about what he’s going to do next.

“I think the biggest thing for me is just get busy,” Kill said. “I’m going to take about three to six months to figure it out … I’ve got to find something that’s going to be my football fix outside football, so to speak.”

Kill joked that he needs to practice what he preaches about life after football.

“Players are probably going, ‘Hey Coach, you tell us you have to have a plan. What’s your plan?’ ” he said.

Kill said he’s had “several” job offers.

“My answer’s been the same: ‘When I feel like talking about something, I’ll get back to you. Now’s not the time.’ People have been very cordial about that.

“I just have to figure out what’s the best step in Coach Kill’s life, what’s best for his family. I’m not going to be a head coach. I can promise you that now. The only thing maybe would be quality control, off the field, where your hours are controlled.

“I had one coach call me and say, ‘You can name your hours. We’d just like to have you on your staff for your ideas.’ … It’s way too early, and I’ve got to get right. We’ll see.”


• After Wednesday night’s practice, Claeys said he doesn’t expect defensive tackle Scott Ekpe or wide receiver Eric Carter to return from their unspecified injuries for Saturday’s game at Ohio State.

• ESPN announced that an estimated 3.68 million viewers watched the Gophers-Michigan game.

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