Jerry Kill nominated for College Football Courage Award

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Retired University of Minnesota Gopher football coach Jerry Kill has been nominated for the 2015 Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage Award.

The Courage Award is presented each year by the Football Writers Association of America, to honor a college football player, coach or support person who "displays courage, on or off the field," including overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster or living through hardship, according to the organization.

A nominee is chosen each week during the football season, and a select group of FWAA writers votes on the winner each year.

The winner will be announced in mid-December and will receive his trophy during an on-field presentation during the Capital One Orange Bowl on New Year's Eve.

Kill, 54, announced his retirement on Oct. 28, for health reasons. He has epilepsy, and said then he was having trouble keeping his seizures under control.

In his first two seasons as head coach of the Gophers football program, Kill experienced five documented seizures. That led him to take a new approach to treatment ahead of the 2014 season, which seemed to work well. 

He was seizure-free for 18 months, but said at the news conference he was regressing and his doctor recommended he leave coaching to live a healthier life. Kill is also a survivor of kidney cancer. 

Kill, who was named the Gophers’ head coach in December of 2010, left the university with an overall 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.

The university announced Wednesday that Tracy Claeys will take over the Gopher football program on a permanent basis, after serving as interim head coach since Kill's retirement. Claeys was given a three-year contract.

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