Community Voices features opinion pieces from a wide variety of authors and perspectives. (Submission Guidelines)

Jerry Kill has a winning history; Gopher fans should give him a shot

The following editorial appeared in the Minnesota Daily.

Jerry Kill was not the flashy big-name head football coach most fans — or boosters — had hoped to see to lead the Gophers. And while Athletics Director Joel Maturi certainly settled on Kill rather than pursue him from the beginning, the new coach does bring a winning history and air of realism that certainly didn’t define his predecessor, Tim Brewster.

At Northern Illinois, the Huskies went 2-10 the year before Kill’s tenure began, during which he racked up a 23-16 record. He took his team to the Mid-America Conference championship game this year and did so having never recruited a 4-star recruit. This year, Kill’s team won nine straight games, including a 34-23 win at TCF Bank Stadium. The Huskies were ranked as high as No. 24 in the nation in the AP rankings.

Such stats are a refreshing change from the Brewster years, as was Kill’s introductory press conference. Kill came off humble, but confident and optimistic, as well as realistic. There were no utterances of “Gopher Nation,” let alone a promise to bring it back to the Rose Bowl, false confidence that would eventually sink Brewster.

Kill came as a bargain to the cash-strapped athletics department as well. His contract will carry a $1.1-million base salary, one of the lowest in the Big Ten. It’s incentive-laden, promising $150,000 for a conference championship and $200,000 for a national title. If his athletes succeed in the classroom, like they did at NIU, five- to six-figure bonuses follow.

Kill certainly wasn’t an exciting choice for this job. Fans responded predominantly negatively, and Maturi is taking a beating from them. But Kill should at least get a chance to prove himself before fans accost the choice.

Reprinted with permission of Minnesota Daily Editorial Board.

Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by myles spicer on 12/13/2010 - 09:38 am.

    My concerns are less with Kill than Maturi. The Gopher Athletic department has been less than stellar, and as an old alum (1954) who remembers the true “golden” years of the Gophers, why should we not be disappointed in our lack of competitiveness in the major sports?

    OK, Kill is in — now just so Maturi does not give him some screwball extension if he has a series of losing seasons (as he did with Brewster which cost the taxpayers a ton of money), then it will have been a good decision to give Kill a chance. Who knows…maybe he will actually WIN!

  2. Submitted by Dan Hoxworth on 12/13/2010 - 11:51 am.

    Kill deserves an opportunity for success. He has a track record. It is clear though the buck stops with Maturi on Brewster and he should be held accountable.

    My guess is that the change in leadership at the University and Maturi’s upcoming contract ending have made this a moot point. I cannot see him continuing as Athletic Director for the new President. It is an easy win for the new President to select a new AD. This should be the focus now so that the athletic programs can move forward with new leadership.

  3. Submitted by John Olson on 12/14/2010 - 08:51 am.

    I’m 100 percent in agreement with Myles and Dan.

    I would add that this is not the MAC. There is a marked difference between playing Ball State and The Ohio State University, Central Michigan and the University of Michigan, etc. With the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten, Minnesota can now add another annual thumping to their fall football schedule.

    Time will be the ultimate judge of whether or not Coach Kill can be successful at a higher level of competition. It’s hard to be optimistic if history is any indicator of future success.

Leave a Reply