After deciding to take some time off to focus on managing his epilepsy, Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill surprised his players Saturday. Kill made an appearance in the press box of Minnesota’s Big Ten road battle with Northwestern and pumped up his team with a halftime speech as the Golden Gophers won their first conference game of the season, 20-17.
Tracy Claeys, Minnesota’s defensive coordinator and acting head coach, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he found out an hour before the game that Kill was on his way, providing comfort for the team.
“To have him around just makes everybody feel comfortable because he means a hell of a lot to all of us,” Claeys said. “That’s what I told them at halftime: ‘If Coach can make the effort to get here and drive, then we can dig a little bit deeper and play just a little bit harder.' "
Kill suffered a seizure on October 5 before the team’s game with Michigan, and has not been to practice since then. The Michigan game was the first game Kill missed in his 20-year career and the fifth game day seizure Kill has suffered since taking over at Minnesota in 2011.
The Golden Gophers improved to 5-2 (1-2 Big Ten) with the win.
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