Gophers officially name Tracy Claeys head football coach


It's official: Tracy Claeys will remain the head coach of the Golden Gophers football team.

Claeys and the university agreed to a three-year contract, the University of Minnesota announced this morning. The move comes two weeks to the day of Jerry Kill's unexpected retirement due to health concerns stemming from his epilepsy.

"The circumstances of the past few weeks have been unpredictable. This certainly is not the way anyone wants to become a head coach," Claeys said in a statement. "Coach Kill is one of my best friends and I am thankful that he took a chance on me 21 years ago. I am looking forward to continuing what we have built at Minnesota, but will do so in my own way."

Claeys coached the last two games – close losses to Big Ten powers Michigan and Ohio State – with an interim label.

The 46-year-old defensive guru was nominated for the Frank Broyles Award (for top college assistant coach) both of the past two seasons, and was promoted to associate head coach before the 2014 season.

He served as acting head coach for seven games in 2013, while Kill stepped away to focus on his health.

Interim Athletics Director Beth Goetz said in the news release the department has "great confidence that he is the right coach to lead this program and our student-athletes."

"I’ve gotten to know and respect Coach Claeys this past year and watched him work with our student-athletes each and every day," Goetz said.

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