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Continued: In for the Kill: No big splash, but a winner

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 6, 2010 - 6:32 PM

Joel Maturi must have meant it when he said he wanted to hire a coach who could bring a winner to TCF Bank Stadium. The man he chose, after a six-week, coast-to-coast search, is already 1-0 in his new home.

Jerry Kill, who led Northern Illinois to a 34-23 victory over Minnesota on Sept. 25, has been hired to take over the woebegone Gophers, the university announced Sunday night. The 49-year-old coach, who has never had a losing record in four previous smaller-school stops, has agreed to a five-year contract and will be introduced on campus at 2 p.m. Monday.

Kill gathered NIU players together after a season-ending banquet in DeKalb, Ill., Sunday night and broke the news that he is leaving before the Huskies' appearance in the Humanitarian Bowl, their third consecutive postseason game. Then he accompanied Maturi and other Minnesota officials on a flight back to the Twin Cities, and into a new chapter of his life.

The university did not reveal Kill's salary, but it figures to be a large increase from the $381,000 he was earning at Northern Illinois. Tim Brewster, who went 15-30 in 3 1/2 seasons, was paid roughly $1 million per year.

"I was raised the old-school way by my father and mother to do my job to the very best of my ability," Kill said in a statement. "You go full speed at it and you don't let anyone outwork you."

That was also Maturi's intention in finding a successor to Brewster, fired Oct. 17 as the Gophers slumped to 1-6. But the search, with the help of an executive-placement firm that was paid $90,000 for its help, seemed to founder from one rumored candidate to another. According to multiple reports, San Diego State's Brady Hoke, Air Force's Troy Calhoun and Houston's Kevin Sumlin, among many others, were approached but ultimately not hired.

"We cast a wide net in this search," Maturi said in a statement, "but the name we kept coming back to was Jerry Kill."

It's a name that likely comes as a shock to Gophers fans, since Maturi had declared that "we're out here to find a Tubby Smith," meaning a well-known, successful coach. "Somebody that people can recognize, people have confidence in, and people are going to bring instant credibility and notoriety to the football program," Maturi said. "That is my goal. Whether there is that interest remains to be seen."

It doesn't appear he found much interest. But by choosing Kill, Maturi might have reached for a good football hire rather than a bold public-relations stroke. The new coach is known for modesty and loyalty, and for succeeding without high-profile recruits. The Huskies (10-3) reached No. 24 in the AP poll, rare for a MAC team, and won the league's West Division before being upset by Miami (Ohio) 26-21 in the league title game on Friday in Detroit.

He will need similar effectiveness to turn around a tattered Gophers program that last won a Big Ten title in 1967.

"He plays Big Ten-style football. He is going to line up and play physical and play hard," Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema said of Kill, a friend from their days coaching in Kansas in the 1990s. "He is just a very true guy, a very, very good football coach. He has won everywhere he has gone."

Not since Lou Holtz in 1983 has Minnesota hired a coach with a winning record; Brewster had no head coaching experience at all. But Kill, who went 6-7, 7-6 and 10-3 in three seasons at Northern Illinois, also built a 127-73 collegiate record at Southern Illinois, Emporia (Kan.) State and Saginaw Valley (Mich.) State.

"Coach Kill has a history of rebuilding programs," Maturi said. "I'm confident we have chosen the right man to lead the Golden Gopher program."

A lot of fans and ex-players have been skeptical of Maturi's ability to do that, and some even organized the website savegopherfootball.com to express its doubts. But Doug Kingsriter, an All-America tight end on the 1971 Minnesota team, said the group's problems with Maturi would not affect how he regards the hire.

"I don't know that it's any different than an election -- once a person is in that position, you turn to doing whatever you can to help," Kingsriter said. "... I hope he'll do the Gophers proud."

So does Adam Weber, the Gophers' four-year starter at quarterback who was impressed by the Huskies' discipline in September. "You can tell by the little things, how many mistakes they make during the game, their fundamentals," Weber said. "They're not sloppy. That reflects on the coach."

  • GOPHERS FOOTBALL THE U HIRES JERRY KILL

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San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 7 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Shields 1
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
Houston 85 FINAL
Miami 90
Indiana 89 FINAL
Minnesota 107
Utah 105 FINAL
Oklahoma City 91
Portland 93 FINAL
Denver 75
Phoenix 114 FINAL
LA Lakers 108
LA Clippers 107 FINAL
Golden State 125
San Jose 3 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Rangers 4 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 3
Toronto 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Detroit 1 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 2
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Nashville 4
Carolina 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 3
Philadelphia 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Dallas 6
Florida 4 FINAL(OT)
Colorado 3
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 1
Arkansas State 40 FINAL
Louisiana 55
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
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Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.X24-7
Sep 27 - at Michigan 2:30 pmX30-14
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern 11 amX24-17
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 amX39-38
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

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