Jerry Kill flashed a big smile Tuesday as he walked through the Gophers football complex with a special guest. It was Bart Scott, the former pro bowl linebacker and current CBS broadcaster, who credits much of his success to a turning point year with Kill at Southern Illinois.
Scott came to Minnesota to speak to Kill's team in preparation for the first practice Friday. Scott was heading into his senior year at Southern Illinois, when the Saluki's hired Kill to be their coach for the 2001 season. Scott had ended his junior season with a six-game suspension after an altercation with the team's previous defensive coordinator.
"I wasn’t part of [Kill's] recruiting class," Scott said. "I was coming off a suspension, and [the previous coaches] were trying to kick me off the team. I learned a very valuable lesson because [Kill] told me he would judge me on his own, not what other people said."
Scott (pictured right in NY Daily News photo) made 127 tackles as a senior, with Kill referring to him as a captain and a leader. Scott signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent and wound up having an 11-year NFL career spent with the Ravens and Jets. He made the 2006 pro bowl. He went into broadcasting and started doing "The NFL Today" for CBS last year.
"[Kill] gave me a second chance before my collegiate career was over with, or you never would have heard of me," Scott said. "Nobody would have ever knew I existed. He put his name and reputation on the line when people had cautions about my character, and I’ve been trying to repay him ever since."
Kill was excited to tell the media about Scott's visit, and the coach said there will be another visitor during training camp, too -- Virginia Tech basketball coach Buzz Williams. When Kill was going through setbacks with his epilepsy, Williams was one of the people who reached out with his support. The two connected last year in Louisville.
"We're a lot alike in a lot of ways," Kill said. "So I said, this would be a good guy to come in here and talk to us."