LAS CRUCES – Jerry Kill’s two years at Texas Christian University had a direct impact on his first-year success at New Mexico State.
Kill hired five coaches and three support staff members who he worked with at TCU under long time friend and former TCU head coach Gary Patterson.
Kill will be in attendance and pulling for TCU in Monday’s College Football Playoff championship game between TCU and Georgia at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
“I know (TCU head coach Sonny Dykes) very well and they are taking care of me,” Kill said. “I’ve watched them every chance I had when we weren’t playing. It makes you feel pretty good when the administration is good to you.”
Patterson hired Kill in 2020 to help with the TCU offense and when Patterson was fired late last season, Kill took over as the interim head coach. TCU went 2-2 down the stretch with a win over No. 12 Baylor.
Kill has intimate knowledge of this year’s TCU team that went 13-1 this season and reached the CFP final as the No. 3 seeds.
Prior to bowl win, Jerry Kill signs five-year contract at New Mexico State
“I’m not surprised at how they did,” said Kill, who went 7-6 in his first year in Las Cruces and won the Quick Lane Bowl. “Sonny came in and did some things that needed to be done, similar to me here. Patterson hired Sonny when he didn’t have a job so there are a lot of ties there.
“Offensively, they had dynamite players and they were all coming back so I knew they would be good on offense. The question mark was going to be defensively, but I spent my time with the offense while I was there. I’m excited to get to see them practice on Saturday or Sunday.”
When he was hired at NM State last year, Kill brought current offensive coordinator Tim Beck, wide receivers coach Tony Sanchez, offensive line coach Andrew Mitchell, linebackers coach Bobby McMillan, tight end coach Tyler Wright, Chief of Staff Brian Hernandez, Director of Football Operations Rachel Phillips and offensive analyst Garret Altman.
“Everyone knew how good Rachel was, Coach Sanchez was a person I certainly got to know at TCU with Coach Mitchell,” Kill said. “Altman played there and I knew him because I visited there every year so it had some impact knowing them, certainly.”
Kill’s longtime relationship with Beck made him an automatic hire as his offensive coordinator in Las Cruces, but he met some of his assistants for the first time within the past two years at TCU.
Beck said Kill’s time at TCU accelerated the comfort level with the rest of his current staff.
“Coach Kill is very selective and he knows so many people, but him being at TCU and seeing this group work first hand, he saw how they would fit it,” Beck said. “I think that was key, as well as the different areas everyone was familiar in with recruiting, which springboarded last year’s signing class since we only had 10 days to recruit so we needed people we knew we could trust.”
Beck was an offensive analyst at TCU for two seasons, where he worked closely with TCU quarterback Max Duggan, who finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting this year.
“It was a great experience and I got to do a lot,” Beck said. “That (the Heisman) was one of his goals and he has the kind of attitude that if he has a goal, it’s attainable because he’s highly competitive.
“He got better the years I was there and is just one of those guys who is self motivated and highly competitive.”
Duggan played most of last season with a broken foot and started this season behind Chandler Morris.
“Max could have done like everyone else does and jump in the portal and start somewhere else, but he’s not that type of kid,” Kill said. “He played in our games to get us through so we would have a quarterback. He stayed and said he would beat this guy out and now look what happened.”
Jason Groves can be reached at 575-541-5459 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jpgroves.