And the Big Ten coaching swap game continues, though instead of a coordinator moving between programs or maybe even becoming a head coach, it is the 2014 Big Ten Coach of the Year who is becoming an offensive coordinator at Rutgers. Yesterday, Rutgers announced that Jerry Kill would become the program's new offensive coordinator in a 3-year deal where he will earn $600K, $625K, $650K, respectively. This 3 year deal is a major relief for Rutgers fans, as Kill is our 8th OC in 8 seasons. If we want to build a great football program, continuity, but seasoned, proven continuity is what we need. Also, an average yearly salary of $625k is a coordinator salary record at Rutgers where the highest salary for said position to date was $500k paid to Ralph Friedgen in 2014. Our most recent OC, Drew Mehringer, who departed for a position in Tom Hermann’s new staff at Texas, made $450k. It is clear that Rutgers is investing in the football program's future. Jerry Kill retired from his head coaching position at Minnesota in October 2015 for health reasons in part due to epilepsy. He was appointed as Associate Athletic Director at Kansas State in May 2016. It was a short stop as Kill is now returning to college football in January under Chris Ash who is in his second season as Head Coach of Rutgers Football. Kill will be inheriting the worst offense in the FBS where Rutgers averaged 3.74 yards per play and was ranked last in total offense. They also scored 15.7 points per game (2nd lowest in the FBS). It is a lot of awful to inherit, but overall I think the position is perfect for him, and for Rutgers for several reasons:
- Again, proven, and seasoned coaching ability combined with a 3 year commitment.
- Kill says he’s healthy, seizure free, and "the best I’ve felt in a long time," and I believe him. However, even if his health is not perfect (which is by and large Rutgers fans’ number one concern) a coordinator position is not a head coach position. It was the total stressors of being a head coach which wore him down in tandem with his health. Mehringer did some work from the booth this season, so I could easily see Kill taking the same route on Game Days. Away from the sidelines, but still serving the team and offense in a much more stress free role compared to what he retired from.
- He has 22 years of head coaching experience and brought positive on field change to each program he coached at. He will be a great mentor to the players, and also to most of the coaching staff, which is rather young, including Ash.
- Uses a run-first spread offense, which is what Ash was trying to implement, but with pro-style players. Hopefully, this type of offense at Rutgers starts to show some life through a combination of spread players being brought in via our next recruiting classes and Kill’s coaching.
- Former Big Ten coach and so he knows Big Ten teams. Ash is a defense coach who knows Big Ten teams, Kill is an offense coach who knows Big Ten teams. It’s a solid combination for a team in the Big Ten that will be playing said Big Ten teams... Big Ten.
- These Tweets:
Rutgers officially announced Jerry Kill as OC. Kill has done a good job developing players and finding talent, which is what Rutgers needs— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 19, 2016
Jerry Kill: There are a lot of differences between being an assistant coach and being a head coach. I've had my run (at HC). #Rutgers— Ryan Dunleavy (@rydunleavy) December 19, 2016
This will help! Great coach and person. https://t.co/aSFlk4u8od— Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) December 19, 2016
Okay, so I don’t expect Kill to be magic and the one to wake the sleeping giant that is Rutgers, or a band-aid for all of our problems. I DO, however, think that this is a major step in the right direction for our football program. This hire, combined with other investments like facilities, recruiting, player wellness, etc. shows that Rutgers is trying and trying hard to be able to compete in this conference.
I think we will one day, and sooner than the haters think.