Kill tells players not to follow his unhealthy lead

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 1, 2013 - 6:35 AM

Gophers football coach also vows to return to team sooner than later after taking a leave of absence to treat his epilepsy.

Gophers football coach Jerry Kill returned to his weekly radio show with 100.3-FM on Thursday and opened up about the latest chapter in his battle with epilepsy.

“I understand my back’s against the wall a little bit; I can’t afford to have any setbacks,” Kill said. “I appreciate that, but I beat [kidney] cancer, and I’ll win this war eventually. And sooner [rather] than later.”

Kill, 52, will remain in the coaching booth at Indiana on Saturday, for the third consecutive game, while Tracy Claeys remains acting head coach. Kill is gradually doing more of his old responsibilities, but said he knows he needs to cut back.

He said it’s hard putting into words how he felt when he woke from the seizure that kept him from making the trip to Michigan on Oct. 5. After visiting an epilepsy treatment center in Grand Rapids, Mich., Kill went to see the Gophers walk-through on Oct. 18, before the team flight left for the Northwestern game.

“I told them, ‘Men, I’m a good example of all the things you don’t want to do. I’ve always told you, ‘Get your sleep, make sure you eat at the right times, and [don’t take] drugs.’

“So I said, ‘Your coach is an example of not getting any sleep, not eating properly, and then through all the different kinds of medication, the chemistry wasn’t good.’ ”

 

Recruiting peaking

After the Northwestern victory, Kill began calling recruits, and he said every player who committed to the Gophers has stuck with them.

“Recruiting’s going better than it ever has since I’ve been here,” he said. “But beating Nebraska probably is part of it. Winning solves a lot of problems.”

Kill said it was important for recruits to hear directly from him. His message: “I don’t know what you heard, but I’m going to be coaching for a long time, I can promise you that. And if I’m not, I’ll pick up the phone and call you. I’m not going to lie to you.”

Kill said, “They respect that I’m not trying to hide from what it is.”

 

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