University of Minnesota football coach retires for health reasons

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 28, 2015 2:22 PM

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - The head football coach at the University of Minnesota, who has epilepsy, said on Wednesday he was retiring immediately due to health concerns after suffering more of the seizures that had forced him to miss at least parts of games over the years.

Jerry Kill, 54, told a news conference he had attended practice on Tuesday after having two seizures and his doctor has advised him to retire from coaching for his long-term health.

Kill was in his fifth year as head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers football program and has been a college head football coach for more than two decades. Kill said he loved football and did not know what he would do next.

"Last night when I walked off the practice field, I felt like a part of me died," Kill said.

While at Minnesota, Kill had seizures at games several times and spent half the 2013 season watching from a press box perch typically used by assistant coaches after another seizure.

Kill alluded to 2013 on Wednesday, saying he went through a "bad situation" two years ago and was headed back there.

"I don't want to be a liability," Kill said. "I don't want somebody to have to worry if I am going to drop on the field. I don't want to coach from the press box. I want to coach the way I have coached my whole life."

The university named associate head coach Tracy Claeys as interim head coach. Claeys served as acting head coach when Kill was out in 2013.

Kill's record at Minnesota was 29-29. His lifetime record as a head coach is 156-102.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Richard Chang)