Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck took the high road Thursday, two days after getting criticized in a national radio interview by former coach Jerry Kill.
“Listen, I’ve got a lot of respect for Jerry Kill, I always will,” Fleck said on AM-1130 radio during halftime of the Gophers men’s basketball game. “I’ve learned so much from him. … I’m really sorry that he feels that way. I’m not sure where that came from.
“But I do know this: We’re focused on our team. I wish him all the best in the next journey of his life being an athletic director, and I hope he’s OK.”
Kill, who is now the AD at Southern Illinois, was on Sirius XM College Sports on Tuesday, when asked about Fleck, who coached under him at Northern Illinois in 2008 and ’09.
“After that, he changed a lot,” Kill said. “… I helped him get the job at Western Michigan [in 2012], and I just think sometimes the ego gets carried away.”
Kill, who coached Minnesota from 2011 to ’15, went on to say how much he was bothered by comments that the Gophers needed to “completely change the culture” when they hired Fleck in 2017.
“Do I still root for the Gophers? I do,” Kill said. “Do I enjoy him running up and down the sidelines? No. Do I think that he’s about the players? No. He’s about himself.”
Fleck said the comments saddened his wife, Heather, and their entire family.
Previously, Fleck's only apparent response was to retweet a quotation from Mother Teresa that Heather Fleck posted on her Twitter account.
“But this isn’t a profession just about feelings,” Fleck said. “The one thing that’s really important to me is our players. Always has been, always will be. ... That’s been my focus from day one since I’ve been the head football coach here and always will be.”