Kaler: University to continue supporting Kill

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 9, 2013 - 6:44 AM

The president reinforced support for Jerry Kill and his battle to control seizures.

hide

In three season as Gophers football coach, Jerry Kill has missed parts of four games because of seizures related to his epilepsy. Kill, 52, was first diagnosed with epilepsy in 2005.

Photo: File photo by jim gehrz • jgehrz@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

With Gophers football coach Jerry Kill still recovering at home Tuesday from his latest epileptic seizure episode, University President Eric Kaler made it clear how much the school is pulling for him.

“There are a lot of people with epilepsy in the world, and they lead full and productive lives,” Kaler said in a phone interview. “I think it’s a matter of getting Jerry’s medication adjusted. And I think we need to offer him a chance to get that squared away and come back and be our football coach.”

Kill wasn’t feeling well last Friday and missed the team flight to Michigan. He hoped to fly in on a private jet for Saturday’s game, but those plans were canceled when Kill suffered a seizure early Saturday morning.

The Gophers have a bye this week before playing at Northwestern on Oct. 19. Wednesday will be the team’s first practice since the 42-13 loss to Michigan.

After talking to Kill by phone Tuesday morning, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said he wasn’t sure when Kill would return to work.

“We’ll just see how it goes,” Claeys said. “It’s all around when his doctor’s appointments are, that kind of stuff.”

Claeys also said, “The best thing is rest and getting the medication worked on. Since we don’t play this week, there’s no sense in hurrying that.”

Kill, 52, was first diagnosed with epilepsy in 2005. According to the National Epilepsy Foundation, 70 percent of people with epilepsy can become seizure-free with proper medication.

But finding the right balance of medication can be tricky. In three seasons at Minnesota, Kill has missed parts of four games because of seizures, though Claeys said he can count on one hand the number of practices Kill has missed.

Since last December, Kill has worked closely with Dr. Ilo Leppik, an epileptologist from MINCEP Epilepsy Care, a level-four treatment center in Minneapolis. Leppik also is a University of Minnesota professor of pharmacy and neurology and a former president of the American Epilepsy Society.

Asked if the university needs to begin considering a Plan B for the football team, Kaler said, “Jerry is our head coach, and I don’t have much to add beyond the fact we want him to get these seizures under control and get back with the team.

“People miss work when they get illnesses. This happens in all lines of work, and unfortunately he’s in a very visible position with a lot of interest in it. And we’re counting on his doctors to get him better.”

The Gophers have gone 3-9, 6-7 and now 4-2 in Kill’s first three seasons. After going 2-6 in the Big Ten his first two years, they are off to an 0-2 start.

Kill’s health issues at times have overshadowed the team’s on-field performance. News of Kill’s seizure during the Sept. 14 Western Illinois game was a constant across the national sports tickers that night, and the same went for Saturday’s news about his missed trip to Michigan.

“That doesn’t concern me,” Kaler said of the effect Kill’s seizures are having on the program’s national perception. “The feedback I see in the media, and that I’ve gotten personally, is standing behind and being supportive of a person who’s going through this kind of situation is the right thing to do.”

Kill proved he could overcome epilepsy and build successful programs at Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois before coming to Minnesota. Now he’s trying to do the same in the Big Ten.

“I think he deserves the chance to make that happen,” Kaler said.

 

  • related content

  • Gophers coach Kill still recovering at home

    Tuesday October 8, 2013

    Gophers defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys said Tuesday that there's no rush for the head coach to return to work because of this week's bye.

  • U of M president Eric Kaler

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 6:00 PM
Indiana
Cleveland 6:30 PM
Detroit
Milwaukee 6:30 PM
Miami
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Chicago 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 9:30 PM
LA Lakers
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Arizona 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Winnipeg 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Washington 6:00 PM
Columbus
Tampa Bay 6:30 PM
Carolina
Dallas 6:30 PM
Montreal
Detroit 6:30 PM
Florida
Colorado 7:00 PM
Nashville
Buffalo 8:00 PM
Calgary
Minnesota 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Anaheim 9:00 PM
Vancouver
Ball State 6:00 PM
Akron
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
Western Mich 0 1st Half 20:00
Buffalo 0
Ohio 6:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Xavier 6:00 PM
Georgetown
Vanderbilt 0 1st Half 18:40
Georgia 2
West Virginia 0 1st Half 19:38
Kansas State 1
Central Mich 6:00 PM
Kent State
Saint Josephs 0 1st Half 20:00
La Salle 0
Nebraska 2 1st Half 18:29
Michigan 0
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Toledo
Tulsa 0 1st Half 20:00
Tulane 0
George Washington 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Pittsburgh 0 1st Half 20:00
Virginia Tech 0
Indiana State 7:00 PM
Evansville
Tabor College 7:00 PM
Oral Roberts
Florida 8:00 PM
Alabama
Tennessee 8:00 PM
Arkansas
Texas A&M 8:00 PM
Auburn
Baylor 8:00 PM
Oklahoma State
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 8:00 PM
Utah State
Fresno State 8:05 PM
San Diego St
UNLV 9:00 PM
Nevada
SD Christian 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Colorado State 10:00 PM
Boise State
Temple 6:00 PM
UCF
Campbell 6:00 PM
Presbyterian
Coastal Carolina 6:00 PM
High Point
Gardner-Webb 6:00 PM
Radford
UNC-Asheville 6:00 PM
Liberty
Winthrop 6:00 PM
Longwood
Columbia International 6:00 PM
Charleston Southern
Tulane 7:00 PM
Houston
(3) Baylor 7:00 PM
TCU
Navy 7:00 PM
American Univ
Valparaiso 7:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you favor the plan for expanded athletic facilities at the U of M?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close