News outlets reported Sunday that former Gophers football coach Jerry Kill will be hired as the next offensive coordinator at Rutgers.
NJ.com, citing “multiple sources,” first reported the expected hire. It was later confirmed by Sports Illustrated and others.
Kill, 55, was the 2014 Big Ten Coach of the Year with the Gophers. But he abruptly retired in October 2015 because the effects of epilepsy. He spent this season as an associate athletic director at Kansas State, where he oversees the football program.
In May, Kill said, “I know my coaching career is over, and I understand that.”
But in October, he appeared to entertain the notion of coaching again and didn’t rule out becoming a position coach.
“I feel good. I wish I had felt this good [last year]; I’d still be coaching,” Kill told the Star Tribune.
Kill overcame kidney cancer in 2005, when his epilepsy was first diagnosed. After seizures forced him to take a leave of absence with the Gophers in 2013, Kill fell into another seizure spiral last season. He said he was averaging about 2 ½ hours of sleep per night.
“My life was spinning. I was in serious trouble,” Kill wrote in his recently published autobiography, “Chasing Dreams.”
After soul searching with his wife, Rebecca, and consulting with Dr. Brien Smith, his epilepsy specialist from Grand Rapids, Mich., Kill walked away from the remaining $8 million on his Gophers contract.
Kill spent seven months between jobs before signing his one-year, $150,000 contract with Kansas State in May. He wanted to stay at Minnesota, but he and university President Eric Kaler couldn’t agree on a new role.
“I miss it, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it,” Kill said in October. “And that’s not putting K-State down whatsoever. It’s just that Minnesota was my home, that was my team, and now it’s not. And I’m just going to tell you straight up, I could be helping that program a heck of a lot right now.”
At Rutgers, Kill would replace Drew Mehringer as offensive coordinator. Mehringer left to become offensive coordinator at Texas under new Longhorns coach Tom Herman. Chris Ash, who just completed his first season as the Scarlet Knights’ head coach, will have his second offensive coordinator in as many years.
Rutgers finished 2-10 overall and 0-9 in the Big Ten this season. It averaged 9.6 points per game in Big Ten play and was shut out four times. Its highest-scoring conference game was against the Gophers, a 34-32 Minnesota victory on Oct. 22 at TCF Bank Stadium.
Rutgers does not face the Gophers again until 2019.