Jerry Kill's transition from coaching on the sidelines to watching from high above in the press box has been well documented and discussed, but with Minnesota's biggest game in a decade coming this Saturday against Wisconsin, Kill's story is getting even more attention.
ESPN.com's front page story is a feature on Kill not only changing the Gophers' football program, but changing himself.
Kill admits that turning a football program around hasn't allowed him to organize his life in the order of God first, family second and football third.
"I put football [first] and I work God and my family in there when I could," he told ESPN's Ivan Maisel. "That's being honest. I can't go back and change anything."
Turning a program from a perennial bottom-feeder to a contender is exactly what Kill is doing. The Gophers are 8-2 with the potential of being invited to play in an exclusive New Year's Day bowl game. It's an impressive rebound from the 3-9 2010 season -- the season before Kill arrived in Minnesota.
However, Kill had to make changes after he missed the Michigan game in early October after suffering a seizure before the game. His wife, Rebecca, convinced him to change.
"She goes, 'Jerry, this is serious,'" Kill said. "'You gotta listen to me. I can't deal with it. I need help. I can't deal with it anymore. You love your girls. You love me. You love football. You got to get it fixed.'"
The change was taking time off to gain better control of his epilepsy. Once he felt good enough to return to coaching, he did so by coaching from the press box. Instead of working 16-hour days, he reduced his time at the office to 11-12 hours.
Kill will be back in the press box coaching from high above when the Gophers host Wisconsin on Saturday.
“It’s really not much that different, except you’ve got another coach on the field managing,” Kill said at his Tuesday press conference, via WCCO-TV. “And actually in some ways better to manage a game. … It really hasn’t changed except it’s a lot warmer for me and a lot colder for coach Claeys.
“And I’m getting older. I can go to the bathroom when I want to because there’s so many TV timeouts. And I can’t hear everybody, so if everybody’s booing me I can’t hear that, either.”
Patrick Reusse says a win over Wisconsin this week will be the Gophers' biggest win since the 1977 team beat No. 1 Michigan, 16-0.