Kill 'hopeful and positive' Claeys will become permanent Gophers coach


Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill has been vocal on the media circuit since retiring as the University of Minnesota's football coach last week.

On Wednesday, Kill was reflecting on his career when he told an Illinois radio station that retiring from coaching college football was the toughest thing he has gone through since his father died in 1999.

But as well as speaking about his retirement to Saluki Radio, Kill also gave a ringing endorsement for his longtime defensive coordinator, Tracy Claeys, taking over the program on a permanent basis.

"I know coach Claeys is going to do a great job," Kill said Wednesday. "I'm very hopeful and positive that here in the next couple of weeks he'll be hired as the head coach permanently, and we'll see."

He told the station that ultimately it was a message from his late father that helped him make the decision to give up coaching at Minnesota midseason for health reasons.

In retiring, Kill has forfeited the $8.6 million remaining on his contract through 2019. Instead he will receive a buyout of about $800,000, according to the university.

"He always told me that no matter what you are getting paid, you give everything you've got and you don't cheat the person that is paying you," Kill said. "That stuck in my mind, and I think most people in the country think I'm an idiot to walk away from eight million dollars. But if you ain't around to spend that money, what difference does it make?"

Kill has a history at Southern Illinois. He was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame last winter and the Star Tribune notes that he owns a home on a lake just outside of Carbondale, Illinois.

Since retiring, Kill has said he is feeling better. He told reporters that he had suffered multiple seizures this fall and had been suffering from a lack of sleep during the season.

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