Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill is retiring immediately due to health concerns, the school announced on Wednesday.
Associate head coach Tracy Claeys has been named interim head coach by interim athletic director Beth Goetz. Claeys, who has coached under Kill for 21 years, served as Minnesota’s head coach for seven games in 2013 when Kill stepped aside for health reasons.
Kill, 54, was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2005, the same year that he beat kidney cancer.
He suffered a seizure on the sideline at halftime against Western Illinois in 2013 but returned the next week. However, he suffered another seizure leading up to a game against Michigan on Oct. 5, forcing him to take a two-week leave of absence.
According to Kill, he avoided a seizure for the last year and a half.
At an emotional press conference after the announcement, Kill addressed why he made the decision to leave now.
Kill: “I still want to coach. I was at practice yesterday after having two seizures. I probably wasn’t supposed to be there."— CoachingSearch.com (@coachingsearch) October 28, 2015
Kill, crying: "Some stuff I had to take, I took myself off of, because I couldn't think the way I wanted to think." This is heartbreaking.— Kevin Trahan (@k_trahan) October 28, 2015
Kill: “My doctor told me ... if i didn’t do and move on with my life that I may be a guy that don’t think too good down the road."— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) October 28, 2015
Kill: "I've given every ounce that I've had for 32 years to the game of football and the kids I've been able to coach."— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) October 28, 2015
Kill started his collegiate head coaching career at Division II Saginaw Valley State in 1994. He compiled a 29–29 record in a little over four seasons at Minnesota and a 52–45 FBS record with Minnesota and Northern Illinois.
The Golden Gophers are 4–3 this season and currently sit fourth in the Big Ten West.