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Gophers Coach Jerry Kill on Leave for Epilepsy

Updated: 10/11/2013 7:05 AM
Created: 10/10/2013 2:48 PM KSTP.com
By: Maricella Miranda

The University of Minnesota's Director of Athletics Norwood Teague announced Thursday that head football coach Jerry Kill will take time away from coaching to focus on his treatment and better manage his epilepsy.

Kill is taking an open-ended leave of absence from the team, according to the university.

As he has done in previous situations, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as the acting head coach when Kill is away. Claeys is in his 19th year as a member of Kill's staff.

Teague and Claeys plan to address the media at 3:15 p.m. Thursday in the postgame press conference room at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Kill had to miss the last game at Michigan when he suffered a seizure at home that morning and was unable to travel with the team. The Gophers don't play this week, but his availability for the Oct. 19 game at Northwestern is now in doubt.

Statement from Head Coach Jerry Kill

"My wife Rebecca, myself and our two daughters want to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns during the last few weeks. This was a difficult decision to make, but the right decision. Our staff has been together a long time and I have full confidence in Coach Claeys and them during my time away. Every decision that will be made will be in the best interest of the players and the program. I look forward to returning to the Minnesota sideline on a full-time basis soon."

Statement from Director of Athletics Norwood Teague

"Coach Kill is taking time to continue treatment and focus on managing his epilepsy. Tracy Claeys will serve as the interim head coach until Coach Kill is ready to return. Coach Kill will remain in very close contact with the team and his staff and provide direction and support as needed. Our support for Coach Kill is unwavering and we look forward to his return to full-time coaching duties.

"This is a great group of student athletes under the guidance of one of the longest tenured and most respected staffs in college football, and there is no doubt in my mind that they will continue to move this program forward and make us proud."

Statement from University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler
 
"Athletics Director Norwood Teague and Coach Kill are managing this health situation, as it relates to our football program, in the most straightforward and caring manner possible. They are acting in the best interests of this University, its alumni and fans and, most importantly, the student-athletes who have placed their trust in us. I eagerly look forward to Coach Kill's return and wish him all the best."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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