Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Kill set to return to Minnesota as head coach of NM State

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (KTSM) – New Mexico State football head coach Jerry Kill established himself as one of the best head coaches in the sport over his 23-year head coaching career at the NCAA Division II, FCS and FBS levels.

It was his time as head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers, a program in the Big Ten, that Kill has been recognized for.

Kill was named Minnesota’s head coach in December of 2010. Kill took a program that failed to finish a season over .500 in four of the last five seasons before his arrival to three-consecutive bowl game appearances in 2012, 2013 and 2014 in his five years there.

In 2015, Kill walked away from the head coaching position at Minnesota after seven games into the season due to health concerns related to epilepsy.

Epileptic seizures caused him to step down.

One of them happened in his first year as head coach for Minnesota when the Golden Gophers hosted New Mexico State on Sep. 10, 2011. Kill was taken from Huntington Bank Stadium, which was at the time named TCF Bank Stadium, by ambulance that day after collapsing on the sidelines with seconds to go in the game.

Now, as head coach of New Mexico State, Kill is set to return to the same stadium and face the last team he served as a full-time head coach for, on Thursday, Sep. 1.

There will be a little spice when the Aggies and Gophers match up in three days. Throughout the years, Kill has been openly critical of Minnesota Athletic Director Mark Coyle and current Gopher head coach PJ Fleck.

Back in 2017, during a radio interview, Kill took a shot at Coyle after the firing of Tracey Claeys, who was Kill’s long-time assistant and at the time head coach for the program.

“I won’t be stepping foot back in (that) stadium, stepping back at the University,” Kill shared during a 2017 radio interview.

Two years later, Kill was critical of comments PJ Fleck, current Minnesota head coach, made about rebuilding the Gopher program.

There will be a lot of eyes on Kill when he takes the field at Huntington Bank Stadium on Thursday, but he is focused on keeping it about the players and not himself.

“I had a great time when I was there [Minnesota], we did a good job when I was there, we turned the program when I was there.” said Kill in his post-game press conference after last Saturday’s game against Nevada.

“It will be tough but I don’t want the game about me,” said Kill. “Everybody is going to try and make the game about me. I don’t want it about me. I want it to be about our players.”

New Mexico State is currently as 36.5-point underdogs in their game against Minnesota. The Aggies and Gophers will face off on Thursday, Sep. 1 at Huntington Bank Stadium at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time. The game is set to be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

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