Gophers coach Jerry Kill reaches out to family of slain teacher, bar owner


The run up to signing day is one of the busiest times of the year for a college football coach. There are postseason evaluations to complete, players to talk to, coaches to meet with, adjustments to plan for and – oh yes – recruits to meet with, attract and sign all before National Signing Day.

So when you hear the story about the extra lengths Gophers football coach Jerry Kill went through to do something special for one family dealing with the sudden and tragic loss of a loved one – the story needs to be re-told as many times as possible.

In this case, the story comes from a Letter to the Editor in the Minnesota Daily, from Yale and Susan Norwick. It tells of the efforts that Kill made to reach out to the family of a beloved teacher, bar owner and Golden Gophers football fan David Frigaard.

Frigaard, 46, was an art teacher at Park High School in Cottage Grove and also owned a bar in Willernie, Minnesota. Authorities say he was gunned down at random while driving home from closing the bar early one Saturday last month.

The Norwicks hoped to have coach Kill personally sign a Gophers flag that they could frame a few days in front of a memorial service for Frigaard.

After exchanging messages with Coach Kill's assistants and repeated attempts by both sides to reach one another – just two days before the memorial service – Kill came through in a big way.

"Saturday night, Kill himself called my cell. He left a message saying he had recruits visiting his home Sunday morning and also meeting recruits Sunday afternoon at the football complex. He gave me his personal cell number.

I left Kill a message Sunday morning. He called me back early afternoon and gave me a time to come to the complex. My wife and I were greeted by linebacker coach Mike Sherels with a smile who asked if I was the gentlemen with the flag that he ahd been briefed by coach Kill that we were coming."

The letter notes that Kill walked in exactly on time and wrote: "Dave, to the best fan! Coach Kill. Go Gophers."

According to the Norwicks, the flag was presented to the family at the memorial and they were truly touched. The flag will go to all three of Frigaard's children.

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