This is a story none of us had ever hoped to write. Or wanted to write. And feel sad writing right now. Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, who has had several epileptic seizures on the sidelines during the course of his career, has retired immediately and will pass the reigns to longtime assistant Tracy Claeys.
Our Minnesota writer WhiteSpeedReceiver had this immediate reaction at OTE Headquarters:
The man that made Gopher football fun again, and now we're potentially back into the chaos. Unbelievable. Just stunning. And depressing.
Jerry Kill was known as a program builder at all levels of college football with notable stops at Southern Illinois, Northern Illinois and vastly improving each school. At SIU, he brought a program on the verge of being dropped and transformed it into an FCS powerhouse. He continued on the good work of Jerry Novak at NIU.
At Minnesota, Jerry Kill took a beaten down program from the reigns of Tim Brewster and built up a team we all can be proud of, brick by brick. The Golden Gophers under Kill's reign from my perspective were growing into a powerful ground and pound team. You knew what was coming, and it was getting harder and harder to stop every year. I feared the rise of the vile gopher menace, and I wasn't entirely joking when I said that. Given Kill's history, it was inevitable that Minnesota would become a force to be reckoned with in the highly competitive B1G West every year. They've made very good progress on that path, this current year notwithstanding.
This is a breaking story, and we'll have more developments on this later during the day.