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Jerry Kill retires from Gophers as seizures return: 'I love this game'

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Minnesota Golden Gophers football coach Jerry Kill is retiring, effective immediately, after seizures he appeared to have under control returned.

Kill announced in a news conference Wednesday morning he's had seizures, including two recently.

"This is a very tough moment for me, our players and coaches," an emotional Kill said, according to KFAN. "I've given every ounce that I have for 32 years to the game of football, and the kids I've been able to coach."

"Last night, when I walked off the practice field ... I feel like a part of me died," he said. "I love this game. I love what it's done for my family. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to coach this game."

He continued: "This is not the way I wanted to go out, but you all know about the struggles ... and I did my best to change. But some of those troubles have returned, and I don't want to cheat the game."

The Gophers made the announcement this morning, just days before Minnesota is scheduled to host 15th-ranked Michigan on Halloween night.

Claeys named interim coach; search to follow

Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will take over head coaching duties in the interim. He served as acting head coach for seven games in 2013, when Kill took time away to focus on his health.

U of M President Eric Kaler said a search for a permanent head coach will take place after a new athletics director is hired. Beth Goetz is the interim athletics director following Norwood Teague's resignation in the wake of sexual harassment complaints.

Kill's health history

Kill was diagnosed with epilepsy a decade ago, and in his first two seasons as head coach of the Gophers football program he experienced five documented seizures. That led him to take a new approach to treatment ahead of the 2014 season.

In July of 2015, he said he'd been seizure-free for 18 months, the Star Tribune reported.

Kill is also a survivor of kidney cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 2005, ESPN notes.

Kill, who was named the Gophers' head coach in December of 2010, leaves the university with a record of 29-29. He's 156-102 in his entire collegiate coaching career, which includes stints at Emporia State, Southern Illinois, and Northern Illinois.

The Gophers won eight games in 2013 and 2014 – the fifth time since 1906 the program had back-to-back eight-win seasons.

In 2014, Kill was named the Big Ten's Hayes-Schembechler Coach of the Year, and the Dave McClain Coach of the Year.

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