Jerry Kill’s new autobiography slings no sharp arrows at the University of Minnesota over its decision not to keep him within the athletics department after he resigned as Gophers football coach for health reasons.
Kill takes the high road in “Chasing Dreams: Living My Life One Yard at a Time,” a book co-authored by Jim Bruton. The book will be released next month; a review copy arrived last week.
Written in Kill’s folksy tone, filled with humor and some harrowing memories, the book chronicles Kill’s journey from small-town Kansas through his 32-year coaching career, with lessons learned along the way.
Kill details challenges he faced at Minnesota and his other coaching stops. Beyond outdated facilities with the Gophers, and the program’s dire academic standing when he arrived, there were other nuisances. He had no designated parking spot at TCF Bank Stadium, for example, and wound up getting a parking ticket there during a team practice.
“I mean, it was unbelievable,” Kill writes. “We weren’t allowed to park anywhere, so I remember at times we parked on the sidewalk with recruits in the car.”
He goes in-depth about his epilepsy, explaining how his health deteriorated because of stress and fatigue in 2013, and again last fall.
Kill describes the burden he felt to take on more speaking and fundraising duties after Norwood Teague sexually harassed two female university employees and resigned last August.
“I don’t want to take anything away from [Teague],” Kill writes. “… But I think I would still be coaching if I hadn’t had to do a lot of things besides coaching football. I believe because of what I was asked to do, I had to do much more than most other coaches.
“This put tremendous pressure on me and took away from the things I needed to do to stay healthy, such as required sleep, taking care of my body physically and eating correctly.”
Kill writes how a Grand Rapids, Mich., doctor helped him change his medication and his habits to become seizure free for nearly two years before the downward spiral last season.
“I want to make one thing perfectly clear: the University of Minnesota gave me some of the best five years of my life,” Kill writes. “They provided me with an income status that is unbelievable for a farm kid from Cheney, Kansas.
“… Each job has its challenges, and I chose to do what I was doing. I could have stepped back and said, ‘I’m not going to do this.’ But I didn’t. It was my choice, and I’m not blaming anybody for what eventually occurred.”
Kill had hoped to stay with the Gophers, but he and school President Eric Kaler couldn’t agree on a new position. Kansas State wound up hiring Kill as an associate AD, where he is working closely with the football team.
“I might consider [being] a position coach someday,” Kill writes. “Do I ever want to be a head coach again? The answer is no. … I know for sure I will be part of football again someday. I just don’t know what part it will be.”