Minnesota coach Jerry Kill retires for health reasons

Dr. Saturday

Minnesota coach Jerry Kill is retiring.

The retirement is effective immediately and because of health reasons. Kill, who has epilepsy and recovered from kidney cancer in 2005, has suffered seizures during his coaching career.

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"This is not the way I wanted to go out out but you all know about the struggles and I did my best to change," Kill said while fighting back tears. "But some of those struggles have returned. And I don’t want to cheat the game. And I ain’t gonna change.

"I’ve taken, I’ve hit everything I could," Kill continued. "I listened to my doctor 2.5 years ago, somewhat, but I did what it took. I knew our team needed some help. I tried some stuff I had to do, I took my own self off of because I couldn’t think the way I wanted to think.

"So, with that, my doctor told me it’s in my best interest for my family, my kids, hopefully grandkids someday that if I didn’t go and move on with my life that I may be a guy that don’t think too good down the road, and I want to be able to think"

Throughout his press conference, Kill, who called this the toughest thing he's ever done, spoke slowly and chose his words carefully. It was a sobering reminder of the importance of life over football and it was easy to see how much the decision tore at Kill.

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"I know somebody will ask ‘Coach, what are you going to do?’" Kill said. "I don’t know. I haven’t done anything else. That’s the scary part."

He leaves the Gophers with a 29-29 record. Minnesota is 4-3 in 2015 after finishing 8-5 in 2014. The Gophers play Michigan on Saturday.

Kill has said he's had seizures in the past year. He missed seven games on a leave of absence in 2013 after he suffered a seizure on the field. He was replaced by defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, who will be the interim coach for the rest of 2015.

Kill finishes his head-coaching career with a career record of 152-99. Before arriving at Minnesota, he was the head coach at Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois, Emporia State and Saginaw Valley State. He was 23-16 at NIU before he took the Minnesota job in 2011. 

His retirement also means there are now eight coaching vacancies at the FBS level. Both South Carolina and UCF have had coaches retire while Maryland, USC, North Texas, Miami and Illinois have fired coaches during the season.

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Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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